Broadband Boondoggles: A Map of Failed Taxpayer-Funded Networks

For decades, local governments have made promises of faster and cheaper broadband networks. Unfortunately, these municipal networks often don’t deliver or fail, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill. Explore the map to learn about the massive debt, waste and broken promises left behind by these failed government networks.

Over time, more than 200 municipal networks have sprung up in communities across the United States, sold with promises of faster speeds, an improved quality of life, a boon for local economies, and job growth. While on the surface these promises sound enticing, unfortunately the reality is much grimmer. Overwhelmingly, these government-owned and taxpayer-funded networks leave budgets in the red due to underestimated buildout costs, subscriber rates falling far short of projections, and issued bonds straining local budgets for years to come.

More than 200 networks nationwide are estimated to have some form of taxpayer-funded internet service.  In each of these cases private internet services are readily available. Government-owned (i.e. taxpayer-funded) network projects have needlessly reduced resources available to help more pressing needs such as improving education, infrastructure and public safety.  These networks also unfairly compete against private businesses. Worst of all, these projects have proven to put taxpayer dollars at risk, leaving hardworking constituents to foot the bill, often at a steep cost.

Our government leaders need be wary of costly and empty promises being made to their constituents. Elected officials should consider the consequences of these taxpayer-funded internet services before leaving hard earned dollars on the line.

Contact: This is an ongoing project and will be updated on a regular basis with additional information. Please email with any suggested additions or supplementary information.


The Taxpayers Protection Alliance Foundation (TPAF) is a non-profit non-partisan organization dedicated to educating the public through research, investigative reporting, and analysis about the effects of excessive taxation and spending by all levels of government. TPAF will also educate the public about government transparency and openness in the United States and around the world. Through blogs, commentaries, special spending alerts, and media appearances, TPAF will publish timely exposés of government waste, fraud, and abuse. Recognizing the importance of reaching people through traditional and new media, TPA will utilize blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and user-generated videos to reach out to taxpayers and government officials.