The lack of widely available, affordable broadband Internet access has spurred a movement in which municipalities are rolling out wireless broadband networks. This movement has raised a number of questions including: Why are municipalities acting as the early adopters of wireless broadband technology? How does increased state regulation of municipal broadband networks affect this trend and how can cities respond? As cities use wireless broadband technology to enhance services to citizens, the growth of municipal wireless deployments has transitioned from linear to exponential. In response, many states have passed laws to regulate and restrict cities' ability to own, operate, deploy, or profit from either telecommunications or information services. Current and pending laws will be examined to understand how cities can deploy a wireless broadband network under these regulations. An analysis of municipal facilities and technology expertise illustrates the opportunity for public-private cooperation in wireless deployments. This paper will show that cooperation is beneficial in many cases. Finally, current business models will be examined for their ability to foster cooperation between the public and private sectors, bridge the digital divide, and create competition among private sector providers.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science
- Library and Information Sciences