McGarty, P Terrence., Bhagavan, Ravi. “Municipal Broadband Networks: A revised Paradigm of Ownership” The Merton Group 2002 Link Accessed: 2004-02-20.

Keywords: municipal networks, broadband, Verizon, ILECs, CLECs


This paper was prepared for the MIT Internet and Telephone Consortium group. The author’s of the paper, Dr. McGarty and Dr. Bhagavan, are principals of the Merton group, a financial and operations management company focusing on the development of broadband services systems. The paper discusses the viability of municipal owned and operated broadband infrastructures versus dependence on traditional privately owned telecommunications carriers. McGarthy and Bhagvan take the stand that the basis of broadband infrastructure is fiber – not services. They consider broadband a utility that transports bits from one point to another.

The authors explore industry factors for success and failures, regulatory issues as well as different technical aspects and considerations necessary to build a municipal network including design, operations, and financing. In addition this work anticipates future opportunities and needs within the telecommunications market. An interesting focus this paper is the attention given to the ILECs strategic interests and tactical approaches to maintaining market dominance. The paper concludes that municipal networks are indeed viable and in fact necessary if broadband is to be deployed equitably. The authors claim municipal networks have the potential to the investment in a broadband network is not immediately beneficial to the people that own it, but can “create increased value, tax base, and a high return on the initial bond investment made.”

Contributed by: Adam Collet - Accounting & Information Systems, Virginia Tech