Thursday, March 03, 2005

State law threatens digital divide project in Houston

Its been a good day for help from readers. Here's a lead owed to ricky over at Timshel. Thanks guys, I need the help...I've been running behind with family, fiber, and other duties.

The link ricky sends is from the Houston Chronicle. It joins a long list of attempts, promoted by your baby bell and cable companies, to get the state level of government to suppress any possibility of competition from cities, towns, and counties that might want to provide for themselves.

The suggested Texas law would simply forbid any municipal involvement in any way. The heart of the article:
Reed's organization, Technology for All, has pioneered this program to bridge the digital divide with help from Rice University and an enthusiastic Mayor Bill White, who has asked city libraries to join the effort. This small, wired neighborhood may eventually become a model for providing everyone in the city free, or low-cost, Internet access.

Or not.

Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, has filed a massive telecommunications bill in Austin this session that, in part, bans Texas cities from participating in wireless information networks.

"I'm not real pleased," Reed said. "As it currently stands, the bill eliminates competition, innovation and a huge research opportunity."
BellSouth and Cox and their counterparts across the country are not interested in any rights-- state, local, or individual. They are interested in profit. That may be as it should be. But the pose that they are somehow motivated by something noble is little shy of nauseating. It is dishonest. And it should let us all understand just how low they will go: as low as is necessary. Look for a similar law to be introduced (again) in Louisiana. Will it bother them to sue Lafayette to promote a vote while they work in the legislature to remove the right of any locality to ever vote on any such issue again? Surely you jest. No. It won't bother them. Just as it didn't bother them last summer.

I confess: I fail to understand how some folks find admirable in a business that which they would condemn in a human.

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