Municipal Broadband

Rebuttal to muni-broadband opponents

And unlike some corporate puppets, this guy knows what he's talking about:

By supporting U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis’ legislation to remove local authority for building broadband networks, the two lawmakers are siding with big cable and telephone firms over their own communities.

It is hardly a secret that Time Warner Cable, AT&T, CenturyLink and others are investing too little in rural communities. The majority of residents and local businesses in North Carolina have no real choice today and can expect their bills to go up tomorrow.

And yes, he's responding to the op-ed we talked about a few months ago. As somebody who's running for local government office, I have had my fill of state legislators dictating what duly elected town/city officials can and cannot do. And now we can add US Senators to that list of meddling, power-hungry tyrants.

Calling out John Hood for his false conclusions

Getting it right and then bending it wrong:

When different governments are free to pursue different approaches to solving public problems, we all gain from the resulting increase in information about what works best. Furthermore, to the extent that governments continue their differing approaches because their citizens have different values, the resulting diversity allows households and businesses to sort themselves accordingly, choosing communities whose policies best fit their own needs and preferences.

I can’t offer similar praise to the commissioners of the FCC, however. They didn’t strike down state laws that blocked one private provider from competing with another. Instead, they struck down laws designed to keep localities from abusing their own governmental powers — their tax exemptions, access to low-cost capital, and eminent domain — to deliver a commercial service in competition with private firms. Surely states are the proper level of government to ensure that such abuses don’t occur.

You can't have it both ways, John. You can't have a dynamic community approach to solving problems and making your city competitive with other cities, while being shackled by an overbearing state government riddled with lobbyists writing their own legislation. You want to talk about outrageous attacks on the free market system? How about corporations writing their own laws and having government "proxies" put their thumbprint on it in return for a nice campaign donation? The bottom line is, if a municipality decides to provide broadband to its residents, and the formula (rates + local taxes) doesn't work to their benefit, those residents can express their disapproval at the voting booth. The crucible of public opinion is much harsher on the local level than at the state level, which is just one more reason why a paternalistic General Assembly runs counter to Democratic principles.

FCC smacks down NC Legislature's bullying of cities

Thanks to the guts and determination of the City of Wilson, muni broadband is back on the menu:

On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commissions voted 3-2 to override laws preventing Chattanooga, Tenn., and Wilson, N.C. from expanding the high-speed Internet service the cities already offer to some residents. The vote could embolden other cities that feel they have been underserved by traditional Internet providers, potentially undermining years of lobbying by the telecommunications industry.

The FCC's intervention in Wilson, N.C. is even more dramatic, overturning a range of state laws that the city says artificially limits competition. One provision in North Carolina law bars cities from charging prices that are lower than the private incumbents'. Another requires municipalities to gain public support for a city-run service through a special referendum before borrowing money to fund such efforts. A third effectively prohibits cities from building in "unserved areas," according to Wilson's petition.

Bolding mine. It's becoming almost impossible to keep up with all of the laws Republicans passed that have been blocked, overturned, or have come under serious scrutiny for Constitutionality. Any sane person would realize they were heading in the wrong direction with these facts staring them in the face, but the GOP is notorious for creating conspiracies of strawmen to explain their failures and poor judgment. They're going to have to raise taxes just to pay their legal fees for defending all their mistakes.

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