City says: Under the proposed agreement, network and ISP operation would be contracted out, and no staff would be added.
We respond: We sure hope there are no new staff required; but, how is billing to be handled, who will interface with the provider, who will handle citizen concerns?
City says: Fiber networks are the state of the art for high capacity bandwidth. Cell companies place limits on data usage.
We respond: Fiber may be state of the art today but will it be for the next 30 years? Just remember that 30 years ago cell phones were not an everyday thing and only voice was available. 5G cell phones are coming, probably by 2020. And DOCSIS 3.1 which Comcast is bringing to its entire network increases speed to gigabyte levels and expands bandwidth. It will be in L.O. by 2018. T-Mobile has no data charges.
City says: Phone and cable TV systems have physical limitations that limit their capacity compared to a fiber-to-the-premises system.
We respond: Phone lines are limited but the hybrid fiber/cable lines that Comcast uses in L.O. can be upgraded to DOCSIS 3.1 which will provide gigabyte speed capability and increased bandwidth that some say is comparable to fiber optic.
City says: The utility would be self-supporting and not subsidized by taxes. Only those using the service would pay for it.
We respond: Does this mean that if less than 35% sign up the charge will be raised to cover the cost? If it does mean that then the user cost may well be more than $60 a month and go up anytime more people drop the service. If the rates do not go up, then the City’s General fund has to make up the difference. Which is it City?
City Says: This service would not compete for resources with other city utilities.
We respond: This is ONLY true if the City makes users pay the full cost of the service! So, if it is true expect that as people drop the service your cost will go up, just like Comcast!
City says: Bandwidth used by all households has grown steadily at an exponential rate. This trend has held consistently since the first days of the Internet.
We respond: Certainly bandwidth usage has grown; however, fiber optic cable is not the only method of expanding bandwidth. DOCSIS 3.1 expands bandwidth for hybrid cable/fiber systems like L.O. Comcast lines.
City says: …current estimates are that the total cost for gigabit Internet service plus phone and video service would range between $80 and $146 per month
We respond: Video services like Yondoo cost about the same as Comcast because they use the same source for content. ESPN does not give a cheaper price to Yondoo. Yondoo pricing in Sherwood is similar to Comcast ($20 for 20 channels; $90 for 100). If the Internet costs $60 we do not understand how cable and phone could be only $20 per month. There are other alternatives such as Apple TV but these do not have live TV.
City says: Fiber is not like a water line that you can tap into. To provide fiber optic service to all Lake Oswego homes and businesses would take over 18,000 individual strands of fiber, as part of a network designed for a fiber broadband system. Except for Frontier’s FIOS system on the far western edge of Lake Oswego, no such network exists in the city.
We respond: Comcast already has L.O. serviced by a hybrid fiber/cable network (they need that to provide on demand services); Comcast has cable to any house that wants it. With the new DOCSIS 3.1 any house will be able to have gigabyte service if it wishes.
City says: Even if the City decides to proceed with the public-private partnership, the project would not go forward until signups (secured with a deposit) reached a threshold target to ensure the project would be financially viable.
We respond: A deposit is not a “guarantee” people will pay for 30 years or even one year. The City is going to sign a contract worth $71 million over 30 years. Shouldn’t the people who use the service sign a contract? Should the City absorb the cost if usage falls below 35% over the 30-year period? We think not. If only 20% are using the service, then it will cost the City $1,000,000 per year; yes, one million a year. The risk of technological change over the next 30 years is so great that this proposal makes it a significant financial risk for the City.
The LOCAL Board