[Davisgig] Dueling OpEd's in the Enterprise

Matthews Williams mattwill at pacbell.net
Mon Jun 3 11:15:14 PDT 2019

 Eric, I hope you will be at City Council at 8:00pm tomorrow to show your support for the BATF recommendation to dig deeper into the technical and financial issues.  That is the kind of focused "more time and consideration" that Rob is referring to.  The RFP and subsequent consultant agreement was (by the design of staff and the original members of the BATF) focused and therefore limited.  The kind of technical evaluation BATF has recommended as a next step was always anticipated to be out of the scope.  

It turns out that there was an unintended limitation in the financial area, and as a result the consultant's report provides an incomplete set of options, omitting the public utility approach.
That is meaningful on a number of levels.  The consultants built $800 per household of Marketing costs into their estimates.  The public utility approach would not need to expend those millions of unnecessary dollars. $800 times 25,000 households equals $20 million, but it isn’t clear whether the consultants included the full $20 million in their $106 million cost estimate.  Regardless of the amount, there will be a substantial cost savings by using the public utility approach.

The Public Utility approach was suggested as an alternative by one of the state’s preeminent financial advisors in a meeting with one of the two BATF subcommittees, who reported the results of that meeting to the BATF.   The Public Utility approach would  change the political approval process under the provisions of Proposition 218.  It would also segregate the funds and funding into an Enterprise Fund, separate/isolated from the General Fund. The Water Fund is structured that way.  The Sewer Fund is structured that way.  The Solid Waste Fund is structured that way.  The Utility Service Advisory Commission oversees both the rates for the Enterprise Fund services and the associated service costs.

Another huge difference between Municipal Fiber and Dan Carson’s comparison to the Bullet Train is the existence and reliability of the revenues.  There is no committed revenue stream from the public/consumers for the bullet train.  It is a “build it and they will come” approach.  If a Telecommunications Enterprise Fund were established in Davis the revenue stream would be established, with every parcel paying into that fund the same amount or less than they are paying the monopoly suppliers Comcast or AT&T for Internet services currently.  In my own personal case, our household is paying $39.95 per month for Comcast’s lowest level of Internet service.  The monthly bill from the Telecommunications Fund would be less than that, so I would save money every month.  That is the antithesis of the bullet train.

In addition, because of the provisions of Prop 218, the rates would be set for five years.  No consumer would be subject to the annual haggling with their monopoly supplier in order to avoid a steep price increase.

Hopefully on Tuesday night Dan, and the rest of the Council will see the wisdom of siding with Dan’s second statement about the the benefits of improved high-speed broadband for economic development, education, technological innovation, and addressing the digital divide rather side with Dan’s first statement of worry about a bullet train-style boondoggle.
If you do come tomorrow to reinforce your message in support of the BATF's next steps ... bring as many friends as you can.  The Council showed in its deliberations regarding parking downtown that they do see and hear those who attend their meetings.

Thank you for your support of Municipal Fiber in Davis.
Matt Williams

    On Monday, June 3, 2019, 10:39:02 AM PDT, Eric Thompson <elt at pacbell.net> wrote:  
 I’d agree
I got to wonder how much of a commitment has already been made to Wave
Eric T
On Jun 2, 2019, at 10:03 AM, Robert Nickerson <rob at omsoft.com> wrote in part:

 It would be prudent to ask CC not to make any major decisions about this at that meeting, but to hopefully give it more time and consideration. 
Any thoughts? 


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