American global telecommunications conglomerate Comcast made an offer to small Massachusetts town Charlemont to provide 96 percent of its homes with cable internet for $462,123 plus interest toward infrastructure costs over 15 years from the town. Charlemont is passing in favor of building its own municipal fiber broadband network, per Ars Technica.
56 percent out of the 160 voting residents rejected Comcast’s offer. To them, owning the network themselves is more important than the roughly million dollars in town savings. Moreover, the town is actually planning to turn a profit, making its solution cheaper in the long run by selling broadband service.
As long as more than 40% of residents opt into the service, Charlemont residents will pay $79 a month for standalone Internet service with gigabit download and upload speeds and no data caps. If less than 40% opts in, that price rises to $99.
Other benefits listed by Charlemont officials include “100% fiber-to-the-home technology (faster than Comcast’s), Town-owned and controlled, at take rates above 40% generates, revenue that will reduce the tax burden, not-for-profit to keep prices as low as possible, transparent billing and marketing, no extra taxes/fees except government-mandated phone taxes, same speed for all subscribers and content.”
If the plan works out, Charlemont, MA. will prove it’s possible, even beneficial, to stand up against major corporations.