From AP - News Headlines -

Urbana Looking at City Government Providing Big Broadband Service

The mayor of Urbana says the best way to provide Big Broadband service in Champaign-Urbana is to have city government run the system.

The Big Broadband project's application for federal stimulus money envisions a system where any and all service providers can share the infrastructure and compete against each other. But Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing says city government is best suited to provide Big Broadband --- Internet, TV and phone service --- to homes and businesses.

"Other cities have done this successfully", says Prussing, "and they're able to offer the customers a lower price --- and make money for the city, which benefits the customers as taxpayers."

Prussing says city government could get an exclusive lock on operating Big Broadband service by building and owning the final leg of optic fiber to homes and businesses. Except for about 46-hundred homes in underserved areas, that infrastructure won't be included in the first phase of Big Broadband now waiting for federal funding.

The idea was discussed at Monday night's Urbana City Council meeting. Prussing says her city --- with possibly Champaign joining them --- may hire a consultant to study the matter.