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

Lafayette eyes municipal broadband, EcoPass for November ballot

By Anthony Hahn
English: Ballot Box showing preferential voting

English: Ballot Box showing preferential voting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Following its neighboring communities, Lafayette officials Tuesday will vote to refer several issues to the November ballot — including municipal broadband and an increase in property taxes to fund a citywide EcoPass.

Council members will also vote Tuesday to appoint one of the last seven candidates to fill an open council seat vacated by Tom Dowling.

When Boulder County officials asked residents earlier this year to consider a proposal that would raise property taxes to help fund free mass transit passes, a poll suggested that voters would most likely reject a ballot initiative. Now however, Lafayette officials are hoping that a similar program on a smaller scale will be better received this election cycle. Continue reading

Annette Meeks: Municipal broadband puts taxpayers’ dollars in jeopardy

Although I do not paint as dire picture as Annette Meeks on municipal broadband. There are still several cautionary tales out there that need to be seriously considered by localities when embarking on a municipal broadband project. Most of them have been failures due to poor planning and optimistic projections including the miscalculation of how their commercial competition will respond. In some cases there are no other alternatives than a city to offer their own services, but those are few and far between. There are many creative alternatives that municipalities can implement that increase broadband penetration and offer competition. 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. 
Continue reading

Google targeting Boulder, 23 other cities to test new wireless network

BOULDER — The city of Boulder has so far been passed over for coveted Google Fiber broadband Internet service as the company has set up shop in cities such as Kansas City; Austin, Texas; and Provo, Utah. But it appears the company might be targeting the city for some form of next-generation wireless broadband network.

According to a recent filing with the Federal Communications Commission, Boulder is one of 24 cities where Google Inc. is seeking to test wireless broadband technology in the 3.5 GHz band. Continue reading

Study: Rural Areas Lack Broadband

Local governments and communities are faced with a dilemma when it is not commercially feasible for one or more companies to serve suburban and rural areas with competitive broadband services. Communities recognize that broadband networks contribute to their economic vitality so citizens ask them to pick up the ball where commercial enterprises will not go. Should local governments compete with commercial enterprises where they may have an unfair advantage? No. Government should facilitate the growth and creation of businesses; not compete with them. Local governments can do this by only deploying the fiber infrastructure and selling access to the fibers to any communication services provider that want to offer services in a community. This open access infrastructure promotes business in a community and gives consumers a choice of what services they want to purchase. The state of Tennessee should amend its’ law to allow communities and local governments to deploy fiber infrastructure and promote public/private partnerships when necessary to encourage competition for broadband services.

Kelly Lapczynski

The results of a study commissioned by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) to evaluate broadband access throughout the state may encourage state lawmakers to rethink long-stalled legislation when the 110th General Assembly convenes in January. Continue reading