Expand Broadband Internet, Not The Size Of Government

 

I’d like to respond to two letters in your July 13 edition that praised Rep. Mike Carter’s efforts to expand statewide broadband access. Rep. Carter wants more government involvement in the broadband sector, including an expansion of taxpayer-funded, municipal broadband networks.

Rep. Carter’s supporters argued he’s standing up for consumers against huge telecommunications companies, but by supporting greater government ownership of broadband he’s really working against small businesses like mine. While it’s true many of my colleagues in the telecom sector oppose Rep. Carter’s efforts, the bills he supports wouldn’t hurt the giants of the industry. They’d hurt small, locally owned internet service providers like mine that are struggling to provide good service in our neighborhoods and good jobs in our communities. Continue reading

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. 
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Despite Gigabit Hype, U.S. Broadband’s Actually Getting Less Competitive Than Ever

by Karl Bode

Despite government programs, national broadband plans, billions in subsidies and a lot of recent hype paid to gigabit services like Google Fiber, U.S. broadband is actually getting less competitive than ever before across a huge swath of the country. Companies like AT&T and Verizon have beenbacking away from unwanted DSL networks they simply don’t want to upgrade. In some cases this involves selling these assets to smaller telcos (who take on so much debt they can’t upgrade them either), but in many markets this involves actively trying to drive customers away via either rate hikes or outright neglect.

As an end result, the nation’s biggest cable companies are enjoying a larger monopoly in many markets than ever before as they hoover up those fleeing customers. According to the latest postmortem of 2015 subscriber totals, the seventeen largest broadband providers acquired 3.1 million broadband subscribers last year. But if you look at the numbers more closely, you’ll notice that nearly all of them were acquired by the cable industry: Continue reading

GOP lawmakers: Challenge FCC ruling on broadband in Tenn.

Chattanooga, Tennessee from Lookout Mountain.

Chattanooga, Tennessee from Lookout Mountain. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The Federal Communication Commission ruled last week that cities like Chattanooga may expand their municipal broadband service, but Tennessee officials who oppose the decision are lining up to block the move.

On Tuesday Republican state lawmakers led by Rep. Jeremy Durham of Franklin urged state Attorney General Herbert Slatery to file a lawsuit challenging the decision as “a violation of state sovereignty.” Continue reading

Municipal Broadband: A Bad Deal For Taxpayers

Please read my accompanying blog article.

There has long been a heated debate over the merit of government-run broadband networks, of which there are currently over 100 operating in municipalities around the country. Proponents of government-owned broadband networks, such as Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Tom Wheeler, claim they introduce competition into the market, while critics point  them as an inappropriate use of tax dollars and an example of government improperly competing with the private sector.

The inherent problem with municipal broadband is that government entities are incapable of fairly competing in the free market, as they are taxpayer-backed and therefore able to charge less for a service than it actually costs. Private businesses cannot do this, as doing so would result in bankruptcy. Continue reading

5 States to Watch in the Community Broadband Fight

BY  APRIL 18, 2014

The State Capitol in Topeka, Kan.

The battle between local governments and telecommunications providers over the right to establish community broadband networks heated up over the last several months, as a number of bills were introduced that could have significant impact on municipalities in five states.

Kansas, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Utah and Tennessee were all in the spotlight earlier this year regarding everything from de-facto bans on community networks to funding and development issues. Some of the bills were pulled off the table, while others have continued through their respective states’ legislative processes.

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Boulder, Colorado Cries for Municipal Fiber

Boulder as seen from foothills

Image via Wikipedia

At a recent Ignite Boulder, one of the speakers launched a rallying cry for Boulder, Colorado to build their own municipal fiber network and not wait for Google.  Now that Google has chosen Kansas City, Kansas, it is time for municipalities, like Boulder, that have recognized the benefits of a broadband network to do it themselves.  Some cities have the resources and expertise to do it themselves, and others need assistance.  We are here to help these communities develop plans and a business case to make the project a success.  The offer is out to Boulder and any other community that wants to start a successful initiative to introduce choice and competition into the communications market.

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