Monday, January 21, 2008

It's the Same All Over: Chatanooga

Some news isn't so much new as is a reaffirmation. To wit: "Murder on 33rd St." "Administration refuses to release records" That not new...but it is newsworthy to occasionally reaffirm that the problem hasn't gone away.

"Incumbents sue to scare community and lenders." That's not new either.

It is the same all over.

Tennessee cable is trying their best to prevent Chatanooga's power utility from providing its citizens with a cheaper, better, fiber-optic alternative to the cable company. The tools:
  1. An incumbent-favoring law which gives the local monopoly cable providers a tool to challenge the financing of the community's network
  2. A lawsuit taking advantage of their law; probably baseless but ceratinly something that muddies the water.
  3. Bluster and bombast by the incumbent providers aimed not stopping any illegal activity but at driving up the financing cost to the community to offer an alternative.

We saw exactly this same pattern in Lafayette.

The delicious irony: the subprime mortgage crisis is in the process of driving down the interest rate. Monney is cheap and this makes the incumbents crazy since it makes it much easier for a competitor to succeed. So they try to scare them off. But Chatanooga, if they're smart, won't allow that to happen. The delay will cause them to sell their bonds in a moment when money is as cheap as it has been in a long time. The cable companies are about to hand the people of Chatanooga the best present they could ever get: cheap money. And all because they're so intent on raising the cost.

Poetic justice.

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