Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Friday, August 26, 2016

Google fiber is out, unless...

...Lake Oswego kicks in with OPM...?

If Google can't make it with gig fiber optics in Lake Oswego, why does the City Manager Scott Lazenby, the majority of the City Council, and the start-up firm, Symmetrical Networks, think it can?

The short answer is that a private company bears the risk of financial success or failure of a venture while a public entity has no such restraints.  Using public money to back up any misbegotten deal the City Council makes, virtually anything can seem like a good idea.

Being committed to hefty monthly payments that will go on for thirty years whether or not enough customers materialize over that time frame is a risk to city's taxpayers  Not even Symmetrical wants to shoulder the risk of the venture failing.  There is a continuing threat to the affordability of Lake Oswego.

The final paragraph of the article below says that Google may still consider fiber optic cable but wants cities to install it for them to use.  What does this tell you about the wisdom of building a municipal broadband system when private firms don't want to touch it?  Of course, with public entities willing to foot the bill for the infrastructure (similar to urban renewal developer subsidies) and take on some or all of the risk - private companies would be foolish do it on their own. Businesses have to play smart to survive - government doesn't. 

Lake Oswego voters will have an opportunity to participate in an advisory vote on the subject in November, however, the City Council has retained the power to decide whatever it wants.

Lake Oswego Review, August 19, 2016 By Geoff Pursinge
Google fiber isn't coming to Lake Oswego after all
High costs prompt the company to pursue wireless technologies instead, a decision that seems to have caught many suburbs by surprise

Google Fiber, the ultra-high-speed internet provider that has been toying with a Portland-area expansion since 2014, apparently will not be coming to the Rose City or its suburbs — including Lake Oswego — after all. 

According to The Wall Street Journal and other sources, Google has suspended its Portland-area expansion amid a review of its technology and overall strategy. The company now plans to switch from fiber optic cable to wireless technology, dropping several planned expansions in order to head in the new direction.

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