by Sam Hieb
One North Carolina network makes the ‘Dirty Dozen’—-the Mooresville-Davidson MI Connection:
Mooresville and Davidson borrowed $80 million in 2007 to purchase a bankrupt cable television system and turn it into MI-Connection, the Alliance says. “Little did local taxpayers know that the massive outlay was just the beginning of tax dollars being used to subsidize the municipal broadband and telecom scheme — or that MI-Connection would threaten the financial stability of both towns,” the Alliance says.
Altitude Community Broadband in Highlands. The town offers fiber-to-home and fixed wireless service to residents and business in the downtown area, the report says. However, anyone living outside that specific area may be unable to access it. The program began in 2016 and has a total debt of $250,000, the Alliance says.
PANGAEA, in the western North Carolina communities of Tryon, Columbus, Mill Spring, Saluda, Lake Lure, Rutherfordton, Spindale, Forest City, Ellenboro, Bostic, and Cliffside. The network, started in 2003, cost more than $3 million to build but serves only 100 locations, primarily schools, the alliance says.
Fibrant in Salisbury. Fibrant, started in 2008, was launched in 2015 and has speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second. The Alliance lists $32.1 million in total debt by Fibrant. It says the city council is looking at options to offload the fiber network by leasing parts out to third parties or completely sell the network.
Tri-Gig in High Point. Started in 2015, Tri-Gig is a public-private partnership that adds additional expenses to a network that already costs taxpayers $24 million, the Alliance says.
Holly Springs Dark Fiber. The project cost taxpayers $1.5 million, with city officials acknowledging that the project likely will not pay for itself for at least 10 years, the Alliance says.
Greenlight in Wilson. The price tag for the broadband service, which started in 2008, has topped $33 million, including a $3.2 million subsidy from the city’s gas fund, the Alliance says.
*Do a Google search and you’ll notice there is a wealth of programs and initiatives with the moniker ‘smart city.’