Optic fiber (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This week Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler plans to seize regulatory control over the Internet by declaring private broadband carriers to be public utilities. Less well known is that he also wants to usurp state authority to regulate municipal broadband networks.
Local governments are forever seeking opportunities to diversify their, er, investments in sports stadiums, convention centers and such. Many lately have been getting into broadband. Municipalities have built some 180 fiber-optic networks in addition to about 75 cable services. Most operate as de facto public utilities with an implicit, if not explicit, taxpayer backstop. Continue reading
The Tennessee Municipal Electric Power Association (TMEPA) is seeking to end Tennessee’s constraint on municipal electric broadband “so that communities can choose their internet providers and to give more Tennesseans access to the fastest broadband speeds in the country.”
TMEPA consists of the state’s 60 municipal systems which serve 2.1 million homes and businesses, or 70 percent of Tennessee’s electric customers. TMEPA is supporting legislation (SB1134 / HB1303) that removes the current limitation on municipal electric broadband providers that restricts broadband service to just its electric service territory. This change in the law would allow municipal electric broadband to expand to more areas where it is needed if those communities want it, the group said. Continue reading
Crystal City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Arlington will make its high-speed fiber network accessible to businesses, federal agencies and other organizations later this year as part of an economic development initiative unanimously approved by the Arlington County Board on Saturday.
Arlington will license access to a 10-mile dark fiber line traversing economic centers — including the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, Glebe Road, Columbia Pike and Crystal City — that it will own and maintain. It will be an extension of an existing fiber network the county uses to connect municipal buildings and operate things like traffic signals. Continue reading
Some of the municipal broadband nets the Obama administration is keen on giving a boost have asked the Federal Communications Commission not to apply Title II regulations for a start.
In a Feb. 10 letter to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, more than three dozen of those said the balance of power is in favor of the edge providers, like Netflix, Amazon or Hulu, which are not subject to the new rules beyond being able to complain about the conduct of Internet service providers, not smaller operators. Continue reading
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. The complaints are many and the options are few for city and county leaders looking to improve broadband internet across the Valley.
The City of Grand Junction will be the first of the Mesa County municipalities to attempt to regain their negotiating power with broadband internet service providers.
It’s been 10 years since Senate Bill 152 went into effect, taking away the power of city and county leaders to work with internet companies or share their broadband with their residents. Continue reading
Blair’s opinion piece generally supports competition as opposed to more regulation as proposed by FCC Chairman Wheeler. While he has the facts to make a case that more regulation stifles innovation and cements the incumbents market position, he does not fully utilize them to make a strong case against Title II regulation. Instead he uses this opportunity to support municipal broadband and his Gig.U organization. Still I am delighted that re/code published is opinion article against more regulation because they have been a strong supporter of Title II regulation.
By Blair Levin, Executive Director, Gig.U
On Feb. 26, the Federal Communications Commission will vote to regulate broadband under Title II and challenge two state laws constraining municipal broadband deployment efforts. Progressives, longtime advocates of both actions, owe a huge “thanks” to Verizon. Its legal challenge to earlier, weaker FCC rules opened the door to the reclassification and a footnote in the court decision provided a path for the FCC to champion municipal broadband, a valuable lesson for all considering responding to adverse agency decisions. Continue reading
This article incorrectly states that the Chairman said that 75% of households have only one carrier while the correct number is 2 carriers. Also what the Chairman said is an oxymoron, you cannot keep something “open” when you allow a commission influenced by large media corporations that will define what can be said and done on the Internet. Finally more regulations increase costs that discourage, not encourage, investment. This doublespeak is typical from what we have been hearing from this administration, but it is shocking that it is coming from the FCC that is supposed to be an independent agency.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler on Monday forcefully defended the agency’s intent to regulate the Internet as a utility, stating that the agency’s goal is to keep the ‘Net “fast, fair and open for all Americans” while encouraging incentives for investment. Continue reading