Wednesday, February 23, 2005

"Municipal Broadband: Corporate or Local Control?"

A recent Advertiser editorial mentioned the growing threat that companies like BellSouth and Cox will simply pass laws in state legislatures to make it illegal for cities and local governments to provide telecommunications services. In that editorial the paper said:
If Cox and BellSouth really believed that LUS is incapable of making the project work, they would simply stand back and watch it crash and burn. Instead, they are trying to keep it from getting off the ground with legal action and demands for a public referendum. They may well be trying to delay it until the next legislative session in which they could push for a state law banning entry of municipalities into the telecommunications field. Unfortunately, that has worked in some states. (emphasis mine)
The paper is absolutely right. I have been watching those battles from a distance and have gained a new appreciation for just how lucky/smart we were here to have dodged the bullet that BellSouth aimed at the Lafayette project at the end of the last legislative session. Be assured that they'll try again if they see the chance. Blanco promises to be a stalwart in defense of local self-determination and it will not be possible for the incumbents to finagle behind closed doors again, but it will definitely bear watching.

For an overview of the tricks that are being tried around the country see the article and links a theThe Free Press story: Municipal Broadband: Corporate or Local Control?Free Press : Community Internet it is all pretty astonishingly blatant. If you search back through our archives (go to the front page: lafayetteporfiber.com and find the search in the left hand index) and search for Philadelphia you'll find some older stories. This stuff continues all over the country.

1 comment:

Neal Breakfield said...

I find it interesting that you speak of Corporate vs. Local control when the "local" government has done it's best (and may yet continue) to minimize and even eliminate the peoples' right to control their own publicly owned utilities system.