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Winners and Losers in Broadband Debate

BY LEN CABRERA / JUNE 23, 2019

After a long, painful city commission meeting discussing the possibility of having taxpayers cover the exorbitant costs of fiber optic gigabit internet, those who stayed awake can clearly identify the winners and losers.

Winner: CCG Consulting. In general, the only people the city commissioners don’t blithely insult and ignore are the consultants they hire to justify their pet projects. In this case, they merely ignored Doug Dawson when he pointed out the many challenges, financial and operational, in becoming a triple-play provider (cable TV, phone, and internet). It was mentioned in the meeting that schools and libraries provide free internet access and Cox provides $10 internet access to poor residents with school-age children, but the commissioners continue to insist that there are many poor residents who don’t have internet access. So Dawson is a winner because the commissioners ignored him, but they didn’t insult him, and he got paid $100,000 for his efforts.

Loser: Mayor Poe’s Students at Santa Fe College, who are subjected to his misconceptions on economics, especially the idea of public versus private goods. He was probably too distracted by his self-aggrandizing Hawaiian junket to read the textbook. While he probably thinks his M.Ed. in Secondary Social Sciences makes him an expert in economics and finance, there’s clearly something missing when he thinks it’s a good idea to spend $113 million to provide something that’s already available to almost everyone in Gainesville. Sadly, that type of thinking probably infects his students, who probably have no problem spending other people’s money on frivolous things. A quick survey of their parents will probably confirm this claim.

Loser: Gainesville residents. What could possibly go wrong when the government controls everyone’s access to TV, telephone, and internet service? Maybe they should take over The Gainesville Sun while they’re at it (not that you’d notice a change in coverage). While Mayor Poe’s comprehension of economics is questionable, his BA in history is probably enough for him to understand the implications of government control of all forms of communication. On the plus side, since the service will be provided by GRU, the city commission will have no problem increasing the rates to cover their inability to say no to any increase in spending. The people the service is intended to help won’t be able to afford it, anyway.

Lest I offend Mayor Poe with these comments, I conclude with a solution to the problem of disgruntled taxpayers not wanting to fund his Hawaiian vacation conference. Mayor Poe, since you seemed personally offended by people questioning the use of taxpayer dollars and your response used the word “I” about 20 times, you can end all the pushback and still take your trip… BY PAYING FOR IT YOURSELF! 

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