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Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller and Jennifer McCain, partner of the Motive Group discuss why this Alabama town is the first to build its own fiber optic network in the state.
In short, Opelika had long been fed up with the services offered by Charter Cable and Charter was not amenable to meeting the community’s needs. They decided to build a FTTH network that would meet Smart Grid needs as well as delivering telephone, television, and Internet access. Due to state law, they had to hold a referendum to offer television services. Despite a misinformation campaign, the community overwhelmingly supported building a community owned network.
Toward the end of our discussion, Mayor Fuller offers some thoughts on what it takes for an elected official to commit to an expensive investment where one has to pay all the costs and stand for re-election before the benefits start to accrue. In short, it takes courage. And having the unanimous support of the City Council is helpful also!
Read the transcript from our conversation here.
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Thanks to D. Charles Speer & the Helix for the music, licensed using Creative Commons.