Anti-Anti-Muni Bills Take Hold In Congress

from the 'bout-time dept

Efforts by incumbent telcos to stifle municipalities' attempts to roll out municipal broadband projects may not get the press they did a few years back, but the carriers are still at it, trying to get state legislatures to pass laws banning or hamstringing muni broadband. This week, though, a bill was introduced in the house that would prevent states from passing such laws. It follows similar legislation that was introduced in the Senate, and appears to already have a broad base of support -- but given the power of the telco lobby in Washington, we won't count the eggs before they've hatched.


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  1.  
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    Matt Bennett, Aug 3rd, 2007 @ 10:53am

    That's nice, but I'm not actually sure Congress has the power to do that. State's rights, and all that. Granted, they'll claim they can do it under the commerce clause, but that clause has already been stretched to all hell, and you're looking at a conservative Supreme Court that is likely (rightly, I think) to back states rights on this.

    I mean, I'm all for muni-wifi, and the telco interference IS bogus, but that doesn't mean congress gets to tell the states what to do.

     

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    chris (profile), Aug 3rd, 2007 @ 10:59am

    it's a start

    it's a nice idea, but i am sure one of the telco's coin operated stooges will want the bill changed so that the incumbents are the ones who get to build and control the muni-networks.

     

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    Arrg, Aug 3rd, 2007 @ 11:12am

    Why bother

    So far most muni-networks are failing, not making money, not getting the subscriber base they thought they would, and costs are way higher than they thought they would be. Just a matter of time before they fold just like all the little service providers of the late 90's.

     

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  4.  
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    Palmyra, Aug 3rd, 2007 @ 11:30am

    Re: State's rights

    No States right issue here. The Airways are public and that is under the purview of the federal government.

     

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  5.  
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    Matt Bennett, Aug 3rd, 2007 @ 11:36am

    noooo, not if the effective broadcast area is within one state. Wi-fi networks have a very short-range. You argument makes even less sense, as the even then the FCC is only concerned with limiting broadcast so they don't interfere with other broadcasts, they would never be an issue with specifically ALLOWING a signal as you're talking about.

    I think you misunderstand how the public airwave laws work, and they're not much of a factor here.

     

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    Whewwwwwooooo, Aug 3rd, 2007 @ 1:50pm

    Re:

    "...looking at a conservative Supreme Court that is likely (RIGHTly, I think) to back states..."

    Nice pun.

     

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  7.  
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    Dick, Aug 4th, 2007 @ 12:22pm

    Muni broadband

    There's nothing WORSE than municipal services. Who wants to rely on the government for anything? They want to subsidize it with advertisements. Gee, that sounds WONDERFUL.
    Frankly, I'd rather have a choice. No company is going to come in and compete against muni wifi, or muni broadband. It'd be a waste of money. So you're stuck with crappy, government provided services. I would rather have several providers come in and compete on price and services than to be stuck with a poorly run government product. I don't care if they have an outside contractor doing the install and maintenance... the government isn't good at anything except collecting taxes, and then spending tax money.

     

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    chris (profile), Aug 4th, 2007 @ 1:58pm

    Re: Muni broadband

    I would rather have several providers come in and compete on price and services than to be stuck with a poorly run government product.


    if you were talking about anything but telecommunications that might be true.

    the telcos and the cable co's use broadband to prop up their now obsolete businesses of television and telephone services. the last thing that any of these "natural monopoly" players wants to do is compete on price. the last thing they want is a "pure broadband" option in one of their markets.

    that's why telcos fear naked DSL, because if you could just get broadband without ponying up for another line (cable or phone) then why would people buy the other useless line? that other useless line is what is keeping them in business.

    look at any cable company or any phone company. they do not provide good prices (bills always go up and never go down) and they do not provide good service (call to resolve a billing issue, i guarantee you it can't be resolved by the person you talk to). what the hell makes you think they are capable of competing?

    how do you advertise that? "switch to cable... we suck less!"

    telcos and cable co's do not compete. evar. they won't engage in a buildout of any kind unless they are guaranteed monopoly status AND obscene profits. they don't wnat moneyif they have to work or invest to get it.

    if there was competition in the broadband space we wouldn't need muni protects. muni projects are the only way to get anything resembling competition in a number of markets. if the telcos pull out of a market because of the competition then so be it. i say good riddance to bad rubbish.

     

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