The Debate Over Muni Broadband Expansion

By Stephanie Kanowitz

As communities across the country continue to clamor for high-speed broadband, the number of critics speaking out against municipal broadband is growing.

At the heart of the debate is whether governments or private industry should have jurisdiction over broadband. Those who favor private industry point to the historical success of capitalism, while “broadband populists,” as a new report by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) calls them, favor government regulation and operation much like other city services. Continue reading

Muni ISP forced to shut off fiber-to-the-home Internet after court ruling

The city council in Wilson, North Carolina, has reluctantly voted to turn off the fiber Internet service it provides to a nearby town because of a court ruling that prevents expansion of municipal broadband services.

The Federal Communications Commission in February 2015 voted to block laws in North Carolina and Tennessee that prevent municipal broadband providers from expanding outside their territories. After that vote, Wilson’s Greenlight fiber Internet service expanded to the nearby town of Pinetops. Continue reading

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

Proposed FCC regulation Limits Indian Country’s Access to Internet

Ross Racine (Blackfeet)

When the FCC reclassified broadband services, they stated that they were not going to get into price regulation. As expected, they did not keep their word and are now manipulating the prices in a free market. What Ross mentions below are the unintended consequences of price regulation.

By Ross Racine

When it comes to internet access, Native American and Alaskan tribes are among the least connected in our country. An analysis by the White House Council of Economic Advisers found that along with the rural South, portions of the Southwest, predominately home to Indian communities, are amongst the lowest connected regions. Continue reading

After Legal Defeat, US Mayors Vow to Continue Municipal Broadband Fight

WRITTEN BY SAM GUSTIN

Two weeks after a federal court dealt a major blow to municipal broadband advocates, dozens of US mayors and city leaders vowed on Wednesday to continue the fight for local control of next-generation communications networks.

These community leaders are speaking out after the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that the Federal Communications Commission lacks the authority to preempt state laws that pose barriers to municipal broadband development. Continue reading

Phoenix Center Skewers Chattanooga Mayor’s Claims for Muni Broadband

By: John Eggerton

Phoenix Center chief economist George Ford has taken issue with a story in The Tennessean newspaper in which Chattanooga, Tenn., Mayor Andy Berke touted the economic benefits of its municipal fiber network.

A federal appeals court recently rejected the FCC‘s preemption of a Tennessee state law limiting the expansion of that city network, but the story preceded that decision and made no mention of it. 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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