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Portland Considers Building Municipal Broadband Internet System

The city of Portland is studying the idea of a municipal broadband Internet system. Thursday, one member of the Federal Communications Commission encouraged the city to move in that direction. Colin Fogarty reports.

FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein is a proponent of cities installing their own fiber optic network.

He says the internet service that residents and businesses would get from such a system would be cheaper and significantly faster than what most internet companies provide.  Adelstein complains his own federal agency does little to encourage the idea.

Jonathan Adelstein: "We are trailing in broadband penetration in this country.  The good news is that we’re ahead of Latvia.  The bad news is we’re behind Estonia."

Portland city commissioner Dan Saltzman says the city will complete a feasibility study on a municipal fiber optic system next month.

But Bob Gravely, with Qwest asks, why build such a system when two companies — Qwest and Comcast — already provide Internet access that he says is fast enough for most people.

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