Cable and telecom firms score a huge win in their war to kill municipal broadband

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.

By Michael Hiltzik Contact Reporter

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.

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About Mark Milliman

Mark Milliman is a Principal Consultant at Inphotonics Research driving the adoption and assisting local governments to plan, build, operate, and lease access open-access municipal broadband networks. Additionally, he works with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to increase the value of their intellectual capital through the creation of strategic product plans and execution of innovative marketing strategies. With more than 22 years of experience in the telecommunications industry that began at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Mark has built fiber, cable, and wireless networks around the world to deliver voice, video, and data services. His thorough knowledge of all aspects of service delivery from content creation to the design, operation, and management of the network is utilized by carriers and equipment manufacturers. Mark conceived and developed one of the industry's first multi-service provisioning platform and is multiple patent holder. He is active in the IEEE as a senior member. Mark received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
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