Will any portion of the residential monthly bill go to debt payments? What is the feasibility that subscribers will be able to pay off the bond issue?

Plainfield’s broadband network is essential for our town’s survival in the twenty-first century, just like rural electrification and telephones were in the twentieth century. We are working to make sure broadband is not coming to the detriment of other essential services we also support. As with roads, schools, police, fire, and emergency medical services, taxpayers support the cost of infrastructure and services, regardless of their personal use of those things. The cost of this investment in our future will add to the array of town-provided services, rather than taking away from any existing service. 

There are two phases of this project: capital and operational. The capital costs include network construction, debt service, and depreciation reserves. Funds to build the network were appropriated by Town Meeting in 2015, to be matched by a $650,000 grant from the state. The operating costs of the network include administration, maintenance, and all particular Internet, telephone, and other services purchased through the network

In 2017, the Selectboard approved a broadband committee recommendation that the costs of this project be shared between taxpayers and Internet service subscribers. Taxpayers will build and own this infrastructure, thus taxpayers will pay the capital costs of creating this infrastructure, including the interest on the debt. The current estimate for annual capital costs is equal to a $247 annual tax increase based on a $250,000 average property valuation. Service subscribers will pay for the operations and maintenance costs. The specific subscriber service costs will be determined closer to the time the network will be operational, but are currently estimated to be less than $90 per month (less than or comparable to what most people in town are now paying for Internet and phone service over satellite, cellular, or DSL).

Appears in: Broadband Internet FAQs

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