Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Huval on Federal Broadband Policy

Huval, speaking as the chairman of the board of the American Public Power Association, on the problem with American broadband:
Broadband access is a top priority for American Public Power Association board Chairman Terry Huval. “Despite all the promises of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to create a competitive telecommunications market, the mega-incumbents sufficiently intimidated smaller players and succeeded in stifling desperately needed infrastructure upgrades,” he said. “As a result, the definition of American broadband is based on the smallest investment necessary to produce the greatest profit for the incumbents, leaving the United States’ ability to respond to worldwide global competition alarmingly hampered. It’s a dangerous situation that needs to be corrected soon.” Huval is the 2007-08 chairman of APPA and director of utilities in Lafayette, La. After a protracted battle with incumbent telecommunications providers, Lafayette Utilities System is constructing a citywide fiber-to-the-premises project to fill the city’s unmet broadband needs...
Huval believes local governments are potentially the best providers of advanced telecommunications infrastructure. They are accountable only to citizens and will price services reasonably, he said. “Local governments should not be hamstrung in any way that keeps them from meeting the vision and needs of their communities,” he said. “The incumbents have had their share of tax breaks and incentives. . . In a large way, those companies have failed to keep their promises. It’s time to let the public sector take the reins in communities where citizens want them to do so.”
That focuses directly on the real problem—incumbent greed—and the real solution—taking matters into our own hands. (It should go without saying that "the mega-incumbents" haven't intimidated everyone. Good.)

2 comments:

Paul said...

I agree policies at the local level are needed as well as a national broadband policy in this country. State, local and federal governmets need to partner with the private sector to ensure a true broadband build out with attention placed on under or unserved parts of our nation. The Communications Workers of America have an interesting policy paper on the subject at www.speedmatters.org

Anonymous said...

Paul: Under that site, the policy for an "Open Internet" it says:

Protect the Public Internet. All broadband Internet access providers should be required to provide open, unrestricted Internet access. At the same time, network providers should be entitled to provide video and other private network services on a proprietary basis.
and
"Anti-trust" Enforcement of Discriminatory Behavior. To protect against abuse of market power, the FCC (or another agency such as the FTC) should have the authority to adjudicate on an expedited basis complaints alleging discrimination by broadband providers.


Is that what LUS is going to provide?