Monday, June 06, 2005

The Great Divide

Muniwireless tracks the coming great divide: states that subjugate themselves to quasi-monopolies, and states that are poised to grasp any competitive advantage opportunity that comes along. It's easy to see who'll come out ahead in that competition.

Nebraska has just outlawed municipal broadband networks. And Maine just explicitly clarified the status of cities that would allow them to offer wireless networks. These contrasting approaches will help define the developmental potential of these largely rural states well beyond the next decade.

From Lafayette's point of view we can only hope that more states will join the ranks of Nebraska. States like Nebraska, Florida, and Texas putting themselves at the mercy of private providers by taking away the power of local governments to offer an alternative to what is, in terms of emerging global standards, shockingly bad and expensive service. Without even the credible threat of being able to offer an alternative, nobody should be surprised when the services offered in Dallas by the incumbents are not keeping up with places like Lafayette, where real competition forces upgrades and keeps prices low.

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