Wednesday, June 01, 2005

"Dallas Rep. Proposes National Muni Ban"

From a post at Save Muni Wireless:

U.S. Representative Pete Sessions of Dallas has just introduced federal legislation to outlaw muni networks nationally. HR 2726 (the ludicrously misnamed "Preserving Innovation in Telecom Act of 2005") would give the phone company veto power over any municipal projects they don't like.

That's not the way I read the bill; I think it would simply prohibit any municipal competition; the company (phone or cable or wireless or any telecom "service") wouldn't need to get involved even to the extent of vetoing a project-merely existing and selling "similar" services would protect it from competition. It's worth noticing that this bill is suggested at a moment the role of the federal government in suppressing competition is at a modern high. The FCC is allowing the phone companies to reclaim monopoly control of their lines and administrative and judicial resistance to competition-sapping mergers is at an all-time low. Of course the Feds have long forbidden the states to regulate cable companies on the grounds that it should be a federal matter--and then turn around and decline to regulate cable themselves.

The feds have even less reason to interfere with municipal decision making than does our state (don't forget the anti-Lafayette Broome bill). This is certainly a decision that really shouldn't be made in Washington. What, aside from campaign donations, justifies Washington substituting their judgment for ours? (Preserving innovation? BellSouth? Cox? Surely you jest. No, this is a preserving monopoly bill.)

2 comments:

Doug Menefee said...

I've contacted my Dallas office and have given them the information. Ironically, in Dallas I can't get a Fiber connection, but in Lafayette I can get a connection from multiple vendors.

Thank you LUS!

John said...

Doug,

Great! Making sure that Sessions hears from a Dallas firm is surely one of the most effective respsones.

No doubt related is the drubbing that SBC and BellSouth just received in the Texas legislature on a bill that would have allowed state franchise arrangments. One way this can be seen is that Texas interests who failed to get what they want locally now are asking the federal government to impose nation-wide what they could not win locally.

As with the Broome bill calling our representatives is the most effective action we can take. Lafayette's representative is the newly elected Charles Boustany. I know some readers of this site should have the ear of this native son. Call. Personally. Friends with his wife? His first cousin T-Boo? Call. This is a bill that will kill innovation and competition in every corner of our country. But we here in Lafayette have more immediately at stake than anyone else. We should make sure we are heard.