In today’s Star Tribune, there is an article about the City of Monticello’s efforts to make itself one of the most wired communities in the country. Apparently, the effort has been complicated by a lawsuit.
According to the city’s attorney, when Monticello asked TDS Telecom to provide fiber-optic connections to every home and business in the community as a means of stimulating economic development and increasing the quality of life, the company refused. The city then held a referendum in which about 75 percent of the voters approved spending $25 million in revenue bonds to create a city-owned system.
TDS filed its lawsuit the day before the revenue bonds were to be issued. The company claims that it was willing to work with the city, but couldn’t come to terms. The lawsuit contends that municipalities shouldn’t be allowed to use revenue bonds to create fiber-optic infrastructure.
There have been several conversations, by both public and private entities, in Northfield over the past few years about making Northfield one of the most wired communities in the world. If I recall correctly, then Council and EDA member Dixon Bond suggested that it could be considered like any other utility, and provided publicly or privately.
It appears, at least to me, that no group stepped up to provide leadership in the effort. Perhaps now we’ll have to wait for the lawsuit to be settled.