Tuesday, April 04, 2006

F2C: Boucher (D) Va. Gets It (& Muni Freedom)

From the Freedom To Connect conference

Representative Boucher of Virgina just affirmed my sense that good representation is possible. I know that's not an appropriately cynical belief and brings into question my good sense and intelligence. But there it is: Representative Boucher is a good rep and I wish he'd move to my state.

Extremely attentive and retentive readers will recollect that I've broken my rule about focusing on Lafayette/Louisiana-centric telecom issue to praise Boucher before. In his talk this morning he talked about the House bill that is currently being put together in the Congress.

The biggest news for Lafayette is that the bill has a pro-municipal component that Boucher believes has no significant opposition. Passage of the law in this form would mean that the state of Louisiana would never be able to come back and outlaw Lafayette's network or prohibit sister cities and towns from following our lead. The law would explicitly forbid states from outlawing municipal entry into telecom or from passing any law that would have that effect. This is a VERY good thing for the expansion of real broadband service in Louisana--and everywhere in the United States.

It's too bad that we didn't have this protection when LUS first floated its idea: BellSouth might still have been able to pass a bad law but LUS and Lafayette would have known that they could never be forbidden to go forward and might not have been so tempted to compromise about issues that have since proven dangerous. It may be that, absent LUS's success in getting past it, a court might find Louisiana's law in violation of federal statue. Wouldn't it be ironic if the Louisiana law came to define the worst law that an incumbent could hope for?

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