At Issue: Should Peachtree City fund municipal broadband service?

One of the first decisions Peachtree City will make in 2016 is whether to fund the creation of a municipal broadband utility. The idea for a city-owned fiber optic network was first proposed in August; a preliminary plan was presented to the City Council in August after staff researched the feasibility and the financial implications.

The plan (online at calls for the city to invest approximately $3.2 million for equipment and administration to provide high-speed, high-capacity access for local government (including education) and commercial use; residential service is not on the agenda. The city surveyed potential business clients to gauge interest in the project, and the responses indicated that it’s a service that would benefit existing and potential commercial clients – something the plan calls “a facilitator for commerce and economic growth.” The city says it has identified 256 potential customers.

Financially, the plan calls for the $3.2 million to be financed over 10 years. The projected data service revenue for the first five years is just over $1 million, but it has the potential for earning much more as users sign up. There is some risk, however; the plan states that “the profitability of this venture is highly dependent upon achieving enough market share to support the costs related to operating and maintain[ing] the City’s Broadband Network,” adding that if such demand doesn’t materialize, “additional cash reserves or increased rates will be necessary to cover operating losses.”

A decision on whether to move forward with the plan could come as early as the Jan. 7 council meeting. So tell us, do you think Peachtree City should create its own broadband service, or is the financial risk too great? Give us your thoughts at

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.