Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Questions Before We Sell Memphis Networx

Do the assets of Memphis Networx have any special potential to make Memphis a connected city? That is, if we want to provide cheap or free broadband access to our citizens (we should!), do these assets represent a big prepaid head start, or do other municipal broadband opportunities exist that would cost little more than what it would take to maintain Memphis Networx?

Are we giving away the family jewels by selling it, or has this type of infrastructure become such a commodity that it would be cheaper to sell the network, and purchase/rent any services back from an efficiently run company?

Right now, Memphis Networx feels like so many other major civic projects.
  1. vision vagueness,
  2. public relations hype,
  3. operational secrecy,
  4. underwhelming results,
  5. abandonment,
  6. repeat.
Eventually we'll have to work on 1-3; 4, however, can happen with the best laid plans. But 4 is where we have to be the most creative, to think as much like an artist as a businessman and reimagine the amplifier, before jumping straight to 5.

Abandonment may be the best path, but it should not be hasty and definitely not a consequence of its failure to fulfill vague and overblown expectations.

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Anonymous sherman said...

This would be a difficult decision if there were a lot of money involved. A million bucks? Hard to sell an asset like this for such chump change if it has any future value for Memphis' wifi or high speed internet usage. Something smells funky here...

1:28 AM  
Blogger gatesofmemphis said...

sherman, now that the MLGW board has realized the loss, another problem -- critics will use the loss as an argument against any kind of city investment in muni wifi.

1:56 AM  
Blogger bob said...

Your list of the six stages kills me. ROFLOL.

Your description is absolutely correct about so many Memphis projects and schemes -- but not this one. This was a deal to make insiders some money using the City's resources for capital and risk.

The stages part is perfect, though. I will staple it to my wall.

2:30 AM  

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