EAGLE-Net Defends Its Broadband Build - Broadcasting & Cable

EAGLE-Net Defends Its Broadband Build

Circulates newsletter making case for its statewide network
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EAGLE-Net, the "intergovernmental"
alliance spending over $100 million in government stimulus money to deliver
broadband to schools and libraries Monday defended itself against charges it is
overbuilding markets and cherry picking customers from Colorado telecoms.

In
a "community outreach" e-mail newsletter, EAGLE-Net said it was
"not competing against local service providers for business, residential
or commercial customers." But it added that: "We must compete fairly with
other providers to enable broadband service options to governmental
entities."

Some
local telecoms are complaining about being overbuilt, and see EAGLE-Net's
target of anchor institutions as a way to cherry pick its own school and
library customers.

Broadband
providers, including many cable operators, are concerned that the government is
underwriting overbuilds of their markets in its effort to get broadband to
every household, rather than focusing on only the unserved homes that can't get
the service.

EAGLE-Net
says the grant has rules to help it avoid overbuilding, but also says that its
grant satisfies a need for access and "redundancy," and points to the
fact that its grant is for a statewide system.

In
its newsletter, EAGLE-Net included a link to a letter of support from the head
of schools and administrator of Silverton, Colo.

A
letter from four state legislators wrote a letter to the National
Telecommunications & Information Administration Sept. 17 saying they were
troubled by the EAGLE-Net build and citing Silverton, Colo., as one of the communities
wondering why it was taking so long to build out to them. Critics of EAGLE-Net
complain it is overbuilding them while not serving truly unserved communities,
while EAGLE-Net points out it is building a statewide network and will
eventually get to those places.

The
letter from the Silverton community leaders
said that while they had raised concerns and questions--the schools there ahd
improved their communications in anticipation of the fiber hook-up--EAGLE-Net
had addressed those concerns to their satisfaction and that "while we are
sure a myriad of unanswered questions and host of logistical and technical
complications remain, we would like to continue to offer our unyielding support
to Eagle Net in whatever form that may take..."

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