Wisconsin Road Sign

How many times do I need to write a story discussing a city begging and pleading for additional cable and broadband competition all the while the local ISP publicly claims that everyone really does loves them?

As I wrote about last year, Louisville residents and government officials got so fed up with their cable and broadband options that they went looking for additional competitors. Time Warner Cable, the local monopoly, responded to Louisville officials by telling them that none of them really wanted or needed faster service.

…it’s unclear whether Time Warner Cable is actually considering installing the type of super-fast fiber connections that Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s administration envisions. “Not everybody needs that type of capacity that a direct fiber network would provide, and that is what we are trying to balance out,” Time Warner Cable spokesman Michael Pedelty said Wednesday.

Now, Madison, Wisconsin is looking to install their own municipal broadband service. The mayor of Madison has been pushing for this service for several years.

“We want to be in a league with Chattanooga (Tenn.) and Kansas City,” Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said Monday, adding that he favors a municipal broadband system.American cities, Soglin said, can’t afford to “wait and hope” that Google or AT&T will develop a high-speed broadband network in a particular community. – JSOnline

As the mayor and others have publicly said for years, they want a city wired with fiber. At the moment, Madison has nothing of the sorts and is willing to provide incentives to get the fiber installed.

So, the local cable companies must be trying to figure out how to install the fiber, right? Wrong.

Bill Esbeck, executive director of the Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association, questions why Madison needs a municipal broadband system when it already has service from multiple providers.”Madison is one of the most wired communities in our state. I am not sure what options exist to increase availability,” he said. – JSOnline

Basically, even though the city is telling the local ISP’s that they WANT fiber, the ISP’s are simply wondering why anyone would want such speeds.

Then again, the Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association is the same telecom-funded group that several years ago helped push through a bill that stripped local consumer protections for broadband services in the state. This allowed AT&T and others to stop reporting most consumer related complaints to the state and allowed telecoms to deploy at only the most profitable sites, all the while taking millions from cities expecting to receive full broadband deployment.


And what happens when other cities in Wisconsin have brought up the idea of a municipal broadband network? Local ISP’s threaten city leaders with potential job cuts in the area rather than actually trying to improve their service.