Some town officials think of WiredWest as a “Them” like another service provider trying to sell something. WiredWest is “Us.” It’s an approach to procuring services and managing our broadband networks as a team rather than individually. Now that we are nearing the point of putting networks into service, we have a choice of whether to manage them as individual towns or as a Coop. As we look to make that decision, it’s instructive to review some history.
Towns have already benefited tremendously by participation in WiredWest. Here are some examples:
- The Last Mile funding we are getting from the State is the result of a lobbying effort of WiredWest’s founders dating back to 2008.
- Most of what each of our towns know about building and managing broadband networks traces back to our (WiredWest’s) research and sharing of information, including financial models and clarifications about regulation by DPU, etc.
- Many cost saving ideas and efficiencies such as consolidating legal and account costs and ring architecture for shared backhaul have come from WiredWest.
- WG+E is offering much lower ISP and maintenance costs as a result of WiredWest’s negotiating.
- WiredWest discovered and championed the use of MLP’s for running broadband networks. WW has continued to clarify legal and accounting matters relating to the use of MLP’s. Most recently regarding DLS’s guidance on broadband accounting, which is misleading. We are working with a qualified auditor to produce better guidance.
So, where would we be without WiredWest? It’s not a rhetorical questions. Towns now have a choice whether to part ways with WiredWest, or to continue working together as a Coop. If not enough towns opt in, then there won’t be a choice in the future. WiredWest can continue to be a fountain of innovative ideas and a means of reducing burden, cost, and risk for town owned broadband networks, or towns can go it alone. We’re all much better off continuing with WiredWest, but towns need to decide which path to follow for the future.
Going forward, here are some areas where working with WiredWest will be an advantage:
- Working together as a cooperative, we will achieve substantial operational savings and operational resilience by interconnecting our networks to share backhaul..
- When current provider contracts are up for renewal, the WiredWest cooperative, with a substantially larger subscriber base than any one town, will have much greater leverage in negotiating future contracts..
- As a region, we will have a deeper pool of talent to manage the networks. Individual towns may not always have the required depth and breadth of expertise.
- You will not have to hire additional town staff with special expertise or skills. All tasks related to running your network will be expertly managed for your town.
If your town hasn’t yet signed the MOU, you can download it at Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Between Towns and WiredWest