… if you live in Ammon, Idaho. The city is deploying an open access network that lets multiple private ISPs offer serve to customers over city-owned fiber. Through this program, a simple city-operated website becomes a portal for residents to sign up for any ISP, or switch ISPs, almost instantly. To do so requires no change of equipment or phone calls with customer service lines.
The pilot program, recently completed, involved 12 homes, and Ammon is now getting ready for construction to another 200 homes. Eventually the goal is all 4,500 homes in the town having access to this network. Ammon has already—in a tax friendly way—deployed fiber to businesses in the city.
Residents will get a gateway from the city, and will be taken to the portal as soon as they hook it up and try to get online. It’s just like the pop ups you’d find in a hotel or Starbucks. If a customer wanted they could even buy two different Internet services. It is worth noting that the city has no debt related to the fiber construction.
For residents of Ammon, a symmetrical 100Mbps connection usually costs about 25 to 35 dollars a month. For 20Mbps, it’s just $15 a month. For those who cannot afford it, there will be a free Internet option, offering 25Mbps speeds in 45-minute sessions, likely with a monthly data cap. The community recognizes that reliable broadband is a utility and not a luxury.
There are 6 ISPs offering service to businesses over the open access network, but not all are selling to residents. There will be 3 ISP choices for residents at launch. TV and phone service won’t be available at first, but eventually could be added in, and residents could still buy service from traditional cable TV and phone companies.