Re: "Future of Click worthy of wider, more civil discussion" (Matt Driscoll column, 4-12).
In 1997, Tacoma created the Click network, a public service offering both Internet and cable, because we were tired of inferior service from a for-profit cable company. It was a good idea then, and it's a good idea now.
Having laid miles of fiber-optic cable, our investment has paid off, and many Comcast customers desperately wish they get could get Click. So why is current Tacoma Public Utilities (TPU) management trying to privatize our Click network?
For one, it is easier to manage electric and water delivery that 120 years of investment in dams and water rights by Tacomans has made both cheap and without competition. Easy business. But Click actually requires a business model in which TPU wins customers. It means that our utility executives must become more effective. Now that’s hard work.
Now TPU execs tell us that Click offering Internet and cable is losing a (relatively) small amount of money. But if we turn over our public investment to Wave Broadband, that private company can — over 10 years — afford to pay TPU executives $80 million, invest $60 million in upgrades and make a profit, too?
Wow! The question is this: Is Click the problem, or is it TPU’s management?