The court made the correct decision to make this a local or states-right issue. This article definitely takes the position that government should compete with private enterprise, but it fails to mention that the government cannot compete fairly with private enterprise. The government does not play on the same playing field as private enterprise because they have taxes and regulations to content. Also the article does not point out the majority of broadband efforts to date have been failures leaving bondholders and taxpayers holding the bag with the debt.
Chattanooga may be the poster child of a municipal broadband success but UTOPIA is the poster child of multiple failures. Also, Chattanooga may not be the success story that all are touting but that is the subject of another post.
I have no problem with the government stepping in where private industry will not or cannot operate but they should exhaust all other possibilities first. Public-private partnerships and open-access fiber infrastructures are two alternatives that are more likely to lead to success than offering rapidly changing broadband services.
Cable and telecom companies have made billions by selling mediocre Internet service to American customers who don’t have anywhere else to go.
The firms, which are monopolies or nearly so in many local communities, aren’t happy about municipalities that have taken matters into their own hands by launching their own broadband services. That’s especially so because the public systems typically are faster and cheaper than the crummy connections served up by the commercial providers. So they’ve worked hard to get laws passed interfering with this form of competition.
They just chalked up their biggest victory yet — in a courtroom, not a legislative chamber. The 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Wednesday shut down an effort by the Federal Communications Commission to foster the spread of municipal broadband. The FCC, arguing that the public interest was served by more competition in the broadband market, had tried to overturn state laws in Tennessee and North Carolina blocking the creation or expansion of municipal systems.
A three-judge appellate panel rejected the commission’s argument that federal law preempted the states’ ability to place limits on public broadband. In other words, no dice.