02 April 2016

A Real Estate Developer Does the Right Thing

In response to larcenous demands from the incumbent (monopoly) connectivity providers, the developer of Jasper Highlands built and wired up his own gigibit ISP to serve his new development:
Tennessee is at the center of a nationwide battle over whether cities and towns should be allowed to build broadband networks without facing restrictions that help private ISPs avoid competition from the public sector.

But with a lawsuit and legislative battle over a Tennessee state law still pending, one home developer decided to build his own ISP. John "Thunder" Thornton of Chattanooga needed to install high-speed Internet for "his mountaintop residential development in Marion County," but was unable to get affordable service from AT&T or Charter Communications, a Chattanooga Times Free Press article said yesterday. He also couldn't get service from a Chattanooga electric utility that also provides Internet because the state law prevents it from expanding to nearby areas that lack fast, affordable service.

To solve the problem, Thornton "spent more than $400,000 to build his own fiber network and link it with a power cooperative in Stevenson, Ala., where fast broadband is available," the article said. He announced yesterday that his Jasper Highlands community in Jasper, Tennessee, "is now able to offer high-speed, gigabit-per-second Internet service for all home sites in his 3,000-acre complex."

Thornton's ISP is called Hi-Tech Data. It sells 100Mbps fiber service for $70 a month and gigabit service for $80 a month. Phone service is available for another $30 a month. Since the existing fiber didn't go all the way to the Jasper Highlands development, Hi-Tech Data deployed its own fiber to cover the final 2,000 feet.
This is a natural consequence of the rent seeking behaviors engaged in by the baby Bells, cable companies, and the rest of the incumbent providers.

It's yet another case where we have actors whose primary business model is to sit athwart the productive work of others, and extract rents, which they use to pay off politicians so that they maintain their privileged position.


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