Telecoms want to stop high-speed internet spread, but not Google Fiber this time [sic]

This is another poorly written article that may just be news instead of an editorial. What caught my eye was the quote below.

But for some internet service companies, the deployment of faster internet “must be” regulated, and more specifically in some areas where internet businesses are protected by laws.

Although the sentence does not make sense, I believe that they are supporting regulating Internet Service Providers (ISP). Why is it a foregone conclusion that the Internet must be regulated? The Internet has grown organically with little to no regulation. Unlike the statements made in this article, there are ways to provide competition in the broadband services market. The only reason that the so-called press wants regulation is their proclivity towards government control and to preserve their industry. Traditional media is dying and having the government regulate the Internet helps to preserve their business.

I agree that municipalities and localities need to be in control of their broadband future, but not at the expense of taxpayers. I do not agree with the state laws preventing cities from entering into business relationships that can increase their broadband penetration, but I also do not think that they should compete with commercial enterprises. Once again open-access broadband infrastructure is the answer.

Internet Connection

Who doesn’t want to stream faster Netflix videos? Access Facebook seamlessly, or watch YouTube videos in 4K resolution? The bottom line, there’s a demand for cheap, but very fast internet connection.

See Google Fiber as one of the best examples out there.

Google Fiber is the search giant’s popular but very expensive to build internet service with a 1-gigabyte-per-second internet connection. The Mountain View, California-based search and advertising company is already serving three markets in America, Kansas, Provo and Austin, and could expand to nine others in the near future.

And while the mobile phone market is growing and computers are getting cheaper, consumers are now demanding for faster and affordable internet speed. Luckily, faster internet is not limited to mega cities only, or cities selected by Google, AT&T or CenturyLink.

But for some internet service companies, the deployment of faster internet “must be” regulated, and more specifically in some areas where internet businesses are protected by laws. These business giants are now asking the FCC to stop the expansion of — well, not Google Fiber this time, but the city-operated internet services.

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The Government Could Build You Faster Internet, But Cable Companies Won’t Let It

This article takes a stance that government can do things better than private industry although history has consistently proven different. Few will question the fact that incumbents will do what is necessary to continue the business model in which they are comfortable. Also, several states have felt the need to “protect” taxpayers from getting stuck with the bill from a failed investment in municipal broadband. Despite the un-based assertion that most municipal broadband projects are financially successful, more than half of the projects have left bondholders and taxpayers with the debt from a poorly executed strategy. 

The article fails to address that the FCC has no legal authority to override state law nor that it is not the government’s role in a capitalist society to enter the communications business. The article implies that municipalities have rights and freedoms to enter certain businesses. I do not recall anything in the Constitution granting municipalities any rights.
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How Google Fiber is Disrupting the Broadband Deployment Model

Editor’s Note: Why don’t publications capitalize titles any more?

I really do not see Google Fiber as being disruptive other than offering a lower price to consumers. They offer the lower price because they can afford to offer the service and just break even on costs. Their “real experiment” is to determine if the higher speeds equate to greater ad revenue. Google’s goal is to increase access to Google properties where they will deliver more advertising to consumers as well as collect more data on their living habits. Their business model is perfectly valid.

Having another competitor in the market is always beneficial and Google has shaken up the market in a few areas, but they still offer the same types of services in the same bundled paradigm. It is not Google’s fault. They are forced to offer the video packages from the content providers. Maybe someday they will have enough market clout to break the forced video bundles or at least change the way that they are offered.

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Syracuse looks to install city-wide high-speed broadband

The mayor realizes how important broadband is to the city’s future, but her approach to enter into becoming a service provider is off mark. The government should enter into a business enterprise ONLY when it is not feasible for a private company. Syracuse already has two retail communications provider and others that serve businesses. It is correct that communications companies are challenged to build last-mile infrastructure so maybe they should consider constructing infrastructure and lease access to different communications providers.

Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – Mayor Stephanie Miner is in the early stages of researching installing broadband internet fiber in the City of Syracuse.

The mayor says high speed internet should be a public service, almost as important as trash pick-up and water.

Miner said high-speed internet is “the modern day equivalent of infrastructure.”

She adds, “It’s clear that broadband is going to be a foundation of our new economy.”

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Construction on building out Longmont’s fiber loop to start Monday

English: A fiber optic splice lab being used t...

English: A fiber optic splice lab being used to access underground fiber optic cables for splicing. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Tony Kindelspire

Englewood-based TCS Communications will begin construction on phase one of building out the city’s fiber optic loop on Monday.

“Postcards were mailed out yesterday” to homeowners that will be part of the initial phase of construction, Jennifer Wherry, TCS’s director of risk management, told the Longmont City Council at its Tuesday study session.

The initial round of postcards was mailed out to 720 homes, Wherry said. Her company will also be using door flyers in both English and Spanish to let people know there will be work done in their area.

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State Legislatures to Wheeler: See You in Court

I like the spirit behind Chairman Wheeler’s move to allow municipalities to determine their own broadband future, but unfortunately he does not have the legal standing to take in the matter. The constitution is pretty clear on states’ rights, and the FCC’s regulatory authority is not sufficient to override the Constitution. Wheeler will lose this battle should he chose to fight it. I wish the 25 or so state legislatures would review these laws that they have passed and either repeal them or change the wording to allow communities to develop business relationships that promote open access broadband in a taxpayer neutral fashion.


 By: John Eggerton
National Conference of State Legislatures

National Conference of State Legislatures (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The National Conference of State Legislatures wrote FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler this week to say they would challenge the constitutionality of any attempt to preempt state laws restricting municipal broadband networks.

Wheeler has said those laws are attempts by ISP incumbents, including cable operators, to prevent competition and that he wants to use the FCC’s authority to loosen “legal restrictions on the ability of cities and towns to offer broadband services to consumers in their communities.”

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The Municipal Menace?

Although I agree with Rep. Blackburn that government involvement in communications is a states’ rights issue, I find it rather ironic that she is going about it with a federal law. I have applauded Chairman Wheeler’s support of allowing municipalities to take control of their broadband destiny even though I do not believe that they should be in the communications services business. I do not believe that the FCC has the authority to trump state law in saying that states cannot pass laws prohibiting cities from building and operating broadband networks. This fact is why I am deeply suspicious of Rep. Blackburn’s bill.  

The LightReading article below is a good synopsis of the situation without the typical editorializing I have seen in many other publications. I agree that there should be no state laws prohibiting local governments from determining their broadband destiny, but I do not believe that they should become a service provider like so many of them attempt. The communications’ industry moves much quicker than electric or water utilities, and the market works better when there are more competitors not one that can operate with an unfair advantage. I do support local governments building and selling the infrastructure though.

JASON MEYERS

My favorite recent headline about the ongoing legislative brouhaha over municipal networks is this one, from a publication called The Escapist: “Tenn. Congresswoman Valiantly Protects ISPs from Evil Municipal Broadband.”

That sarcasm is a reference to an amendment attached by US House of Representatives Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) to the fiscal 2015 Financial Services appropriations bill that would keep regulators from modifying state laws prohibiting municipalities from building and operating broadband networks. The amendment was approved 223-200 in the House last week, but a final version of the bill must still be passed by the House and Senate and signed by President Obama to become law.

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