David Haskin at Mobile Pipeline interviews Philadelphia CIO Dianah Neff: The article is wide ranging and reveals more of the plan that will be unveiled Feb. 7. Neff argues--as I have--that it's disingenuous for giant telecoms to decry city tax-free financing because, first of all, that's not how Philadelphia will pay for this network (nor did they ever say they would use tax-free bonds for it), and second, the telecoms have received without complaint billions of dollars in subsidies.
As one article has pointed out, Verizon received enormous payments in the last decade to encourage them to build services that they didn't. Instead of being penalized, the bill passed in Pennsylvania gives them another decade with more incentives.
Neff tips her hand a little about the unique public-private partnership that she's been alluding to in recent weeks: I've been pushing the notion of vendor-neutral municipal networks that provide a place for all ISPs on an equal basis, including Verizon, and that don't put the city in the business of being a provider. Rather, a municipality becomes an enabler; the money for logical access is all spent in the private sector and non-profit sector. Neff cited the existence of hundreds of ISPs that she hopes will be part of the city's venture, which makes it sound an awful lot like a vendor-neutral network.