Like so many cities, Danbury Connecticut is apparently tired of incumbent broadband providers not trying very hard. As such, the city is just the latest to explore a public/private partnership it hopes will bring dirt-cheap utility-style broadband to the city. According to the Danbury News Times, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton wants a private partner to build a city-wide fiber network that will initially offer 20 Mbps broadband for $15 a month.
In a unique twist though, Boughton took things one step further by suggesting that once the network is paid off, the price of the service should drop to zero:
The plan, assuming at least half of the city supports it, is for a company such as Frontier Communications to build and maintain a fiber optic network that would cost each household that wants the service $15 a month for five years. The monthly rate would subsequently drop. “After five years, because the infrastructure will be built out, it will go down to $5 a month, and then five years after that the rate should go down to zero, Boughton said. It will be self-sustaining with new enrollees.”
Obviously here in the real world Danbury probably won’t ever actually offer broadband for nothing, but the city’s ambition does reflect a growing shift toward seeing broadband less as an expensive luxury, and more as a discounted utility. Granted the city makes it clear the project is only moving forward if the majority of the city votes for it.