Here are some of the stories on the new Reason Foundation policy brief (.pdf) examining municipal broadband's multi-million dollar failure in Provo, Utah:
Unload iProvo, critic urges
By Jens Dana
Better to privatize iProvo now and end the bleeding than lose another estimated $2 million over the next year, a longtime critic of the city-owned fiber optic network said Wednesday. Steven Titch of the Reason Foundation – a Los Angeles-based think tank that promotes libertarian principles – issued a eight-page policy brief that highlighted what he terms "iProvo's poor performance." Titch, a policy analyst specializing in telecommunications for the Reason Foundation, blasted the city's telecommunication network, saying municipal governments have no place in the high-tech infrastructure business. "They don't do it well," he said. "And iProvo is an example of this." Provo issued $39.5 million in bonds to finance the construction of iProvo. Since its inception, the network has experienced high churn rates among subscribers and relied heavily on subsidies to keep afloat. To date, the project has cost the city $8.4 million, Titch said, and there are projections iProvo will cost another $2 million. He sees only two options. "Provo now faces the dilemma of continuing to fund iProvo with no break-even point in sight," Titch wrote. "Or sell the property and recoup as much of its investment as it can."
The Salt Lake Tribune
Reason Foundation report: Time to sell iProvo
City spokeswoman counters that the document is flawed by misstatements of the network's red ink
By Donald W. Meyers
A libertarian-leaning California think tank has renewed its declaration that iProvo is a financial failure and that it's time for the city to consider selling it to a private telecommunications provider. The Reason Foundation's report says the fiber-optic network has lost approximately $8.4 million in the four years of its operation, and will continue to bleed red ink unless the wholesale provider model is scrapped. "They're still having the same problems they had a few years ago," said Steven Titch, Reason's telecom analyst and author of the report. "They're just getting more expensive."
Foundation calls for iProvo sell-off
By Joe Pyrah
It's not news that the high-speed network iProvo is losing money at, well, a high speed. But $10 million in the hole is as good a time as any to take a jab at the publicly financed system that provides television, phone and Internet access. "No matter how many times the city tries to move the goalposts for what success means or how many subscribers iProvo needs, it can't get away from the fact that iProvo is a dismal financial failure by any standard," said Steven Titch, a policy analyst with the Reason Foundation. The Los Angeles-based foundation isn't new to the iProvo scene, having released a blistering report in 2006 that the city largely discounted. Reason, which advocates corporate solutions over government efforts, released an updated report on Wednesday. The report stated that iProvo is $10 million in the hole.