A new analysis by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) finds that publicly owned broadband networks may offer customers a much better deal than private networks. The data, available on ILSR’s newly launched Web site MuniNetworks.org, indicates that "community broadband networks are some of the fastest, most affordable networks in the United Sates, bar none," says Christopher Mitchell, director at ILSR.

The analysis compares prices from some of the fastest publicly owned networks with prices and speeds from the nation’s two largest broadband providers, Verizon and Comcast. According to Mitchell, two communities stand out: Lafayette, LA, and Wilson, NC. Lafayette’s slowest tier offers 10 Mbps symmetrical connection for $28.95/month. Wilson charges $34.95 for the same connection. Comcast and Verizon’s FiOS both offer the same downstream but slower upstream connection at a monthly cost of $42.95 and $44.95, respectively.

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