The City of Bozeman has approved a plan to lay a fiber-optic cable network throughout the city to improve high-speed Internet availability, cost and quality. City commissioners made a few changes to the earlier plan advocates had submitted in late December.
The main change will not put the city in direct control and ownership of the cable network, but will shift the responsibility to a new non-profit that will manage and oversee the cable project.
The change will keep the city from becoming the “internet service provider.” Now, the non-profit will lease conduit from the city, but own the fiber optic cable inside the conduit. It is assumed that they would then lease to private companies who can benefit from leasing cable, rather than dig their own at a higher upfront cost.
Although not exactly a change, the city has affirmed that the system will not be targeted towards residential users, but homes near the cables may be able to take advantage and “plug in” so to speak.
Those looking for commercial real estate in the city will be happy to hear that their Internet costs will in all likelihood go down. An increased Internet infrastructure, though not directed at residential homeowners and buyers, may still lead to some benefits for them. The benefits seen from private companies may allow them to lower both home and business rates because their high up front capital costs for laying fiber optic cable may allow them to price residential more competitively.
Hart Real Estate Solutions