Race is on for q-c broadband government and politics qctimes.com a gas is compressed at a constant pressure of

Both cities have built networks to serve city purposes, connecting all facilities to the system that delivers technology at considerable savings. Davenport officials say their network of underground fiber saves $600,000 annually, mostly in consolidation, equipment and monthly access and service charges.

The president was in Iowa to encourage all cities to continue to make the same kind of investment and to urge private providers to invest more, too. While most U.S. cities, including all local municipalities, are equipped with fast fiber-optic broadband, most residents do not have the same access. If they do, it is too expensive.

"In fact, three out of four Americans have no competition or no service at speeds increasingly required for many online services," according to a White House statement that was issued in advance of Obama’s recent Iowa visit. "Rarely is the problem a lack of demand — too often, it is the capital costs of building out broadband infrastructure and a combination of laws that prevent communities from providing incentives to attract providers."

The so-called incumbent ISPs, such as AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink have lobbied against publicly provided Internet with considerable success. Many states limit how much cities can invest in the needed infrastructure. Some private companies also have filed suit against municipalities, hoping to block the competition.

"Mediacom’s affordable advanced broadband services are widely available to both residential and business customers throughout Davenport and the greater Quad Cities area," Tomas Larsen, the company’s vice president, legal and public affairs, wrote in an email last week. "In Iowa alone, we invest roughly $100 million dollars every single year to make sure our network keeps pace with changing technology.

"I think the ongoing network investment is something many municipalities fail to take into account when they attempt to enter the broadband business. If you compare Mediacom’s broadband prices and speeds to the broadband prices and speeds offered by municipally owned broadband providers in Iowa, you will see that Mediacom, in almost every case, offers faster speeds at lower prices.

Despite Mediacom’s accounting of 100 percent broadband availability in Davenport, some say the connections are not fast enough for all businesses and residents. For speeds that are increasingly in demand, a direct fiber connection is needed. And that is why Davenport is evaluating what currently is available.

When Geneseo Communications needed to extend its fiber west from Bettendorf, it applied for permits to trench for several miles along West Locust Street in Davenport to lay more cable. When Henry learned of the plans, he arranged for Davenport to piggyback on the effort. The city then paid the fiber-installation crew to lay cable for Davenport, too.

For now, the city’s emphasis is on identifying residential and business broadband needs, then finding a way to satisfy them. It is far more complicated than simply laying more lines of fiber. Even if lines ran to every home in the city, someone would have to pay for the installation of the broadband connection, the maintenance of the system and the staff to handle monthly billing, among other expenses.

If Davenport aldermen decided the city would be better off providing its own Internet service to residents and businesses, it would mean millions in taxpayer investments in more network infrastructure and ongoing expenses. But it also would mean taxpayer approval. Iowa law requires municipalities to take the issue to a referendum before deciding to assemble a public ISP.

"There are probably 20 cities that have passed the referendum, but they haven’t gotten there yet," Henry said. "The result of these referendums can be that private companies now have an incentive to invest in the infrastructure they need to get the fiber into more areas.

It also is what the cable, Internet and phone companies are talking about, because they already invested in now-outdated copper-driven networks. Also creating a hardship is the increased competition — from both the private and public sector.

The company’s network is a hybrid, she said, of copper and fiber-optic cable. It is possible some of the fiber is laid in the same place as the cable that runs the networks for Davenport and Bettendorf’s fiber, she said, but the precise locations are secret. But that doesn’t mean something couldn’t change.