Published in the Daily Herald, March 13,
By now, Tri-Cities citizens and businesses are aware of the
broadband utility referendums on the April 1 ballot.
These referendums would allow the respective city governments to
jointly provide a fiber optic broadband network utility offering
telephone, cable television and Internet access services. We are
asking our fellow Geneva residents to vote "yes" on all
three referendum questions.
Over the last 10 years living in Geneva, we have had to put up
with the bad, or lack thereof, service and the many cost increases
with SBC (formerly Ameritech and Illinois Bell), Comcast (formally
AT&T Broadband, which purchased Jones Cable), and Earthlink
and many Internet providers that have come and gone. Costs have
gone up and what we receive in return has gone down.
When we moved here, we paid around $22 for expanded basic and two
premium channels. Now we pay $40, only have extended basic, no premium
channels, and the service is a joke among friends and neighbors.
Expanded basic service in Geneva offers fewer channels than the
expanded basic offered in Carol Stream, Glenview and Evanston, yet
all three towns have the same cable provider. Cable modem Internet
access is not available to Geneva residents, but they have been
promised it for many years.
We are passionate on passing these referendum questions for many
reasons: (1) this will bring fiber optic connection right to our
doorsteps; (2) this new utility initially will be funded by general
obligation bonds and later supported by user fees, not increased
property taxes; (3) local customer service with real local accountability;
(4) Geneva could provide one utility bill each month for all services
-need to write only one check each month; (5) residents and businesses
can elect to use any or none of the three services.
(6) Existing city staff members have experience in the installation
and administration of an existing fiber optic broadband between
the city offices and schools - they know what it takes to manage
the utility effectively; (7) the Tri-Cities experience in supplying
and servicing its residents and businesses with electrical power,
which is nationally recognized and praised; (8) we were extremely
offended by the two telephone surveys allegedly conducted by one
or both of the telecommunication service providers; (9) we don't
have to change our existing telephone numbers; (10) the utility
could provide and maintain at least 45 new local jobs, which is
important due to the current economic situation in Illinois (Illinois
has the second-highest technology unemployment rate in the United
States next to California).
(11) The addition of this utility will bring competition that might
freeze or decrease the current provider fees; (12) the city could
create a system to alert its residents and businesses in the event
of an emergency or disaster; and (13) there are 50 other municipal-run
broadband utilities in the country, and not one has failed.
We are impressed that the Tri-Cities city councils and staff members
had the foresight to commit the time and the resources to research
the viability of providing this 21st-century utility. We give our
full support to the city of Geneva's government and staff. We believe
they have done their homework and are looking out for the best interests
of their residents and businesses.
Geneva voters, please vote "yes," "yes" and
"yes" on April 1.
Bill and Jill Philmlee