This well-reasoned, well-documented op-ed from OPALCO members, Chris and Chom Greacens, is a must read for members of the Orcas Power and Light Cooperative who want to understand the risks associated with their electric co-op’s proposal to build and deliver broadband services.
Is OPALCO well-suited to dive into a new and competitive business of telecommunications with very fast changing and complicated technology and no federal subsidies? We’ve seen examples of other coops and municipal utilities having made similar decisions to venture into telecom and fail miserably.
They conclude and recommend:
Cutthroat industry. Little experience. Apparently no financial firewalls to protect a public service we rely on. Lack of transparency in information available to members. This doesn’t look good. Let’s look at other options for getting fast internet, like maybe leasing bandwidth on OPALCO’s existing fiber optic lines to someone else better poised to take these risks.
Their discussion and arguments in between are well-worth the read.