Frontier, Sibley County engage in war of words over muni fiber

Frontier Communications (NYSE: FTR) is taking sides on a fiber-to-the-farm initiative in Sibley County, Minn., and it isn't the side of the consumer. Frontier doesn't see a fiber buildout to rural communities as feasible, arguing in a letter to county commissioners that they can provide the same level of service as fiber via their DSL service.

The dustup comes in the wake of a feasibility study conducted by the Sibley Renville Fiber Project which waxed fairly optimistic about the long-term benefits of making an investment in municipal FTTH. Frontier, the incumbent provider to the area, pointed out in a Dec. 14 letter examples of muni fiber projects that weren't doing so well.

Sibley County's Board of Commissioners was not so thrilled with Frontier's observations, shooting back in a letter of their own in which they stated, "There are approximately 75 municipally based fiber projects currently operating in the country. A case can be made that perhaps three or four of those projects have under performed. Four out of 75 projects is a far cry from "most of these projects."

DSL Reports provided a telling observation of its own, noting "It's important to remember that these local communities wouldn't be engaging in this project if the local incumbent had met their bandwidth needs."

For more:
- Broadband DSL Reports has this story
- see this Community Broadband Networks report

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