Keeping Government Out Of The Broadband Business

from the good-or-bad dept

Bryan writes “This is fitting. Since there’s a growing number of local governments getting into the municipal broadband business (either because the local companies won’t serve them, or serve them badly), there’s now a push to outlaw government competition in both Ohio and Pennsylvania. It’s definitely a growing controversy that will be getting noisier over the next several years as more communities get fed up with their broadband service and the companies begin lobbying heavily to stop the trend. Broadband Reports has posted an interesting interview with Jim Baller, one of the country’s most experienced attorneys in municipal broadband, and he tries to dissect some of the conflict and answer the tough questions surrounding the idea. “

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Comments on “Keeping Government Out Of The Broadband Business”

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Murrel (user link) says:

Government Participation

These bills seem to encompass all forms of Internet applications from web sites to access as well as non-Internet services. Government competition is very real in so many ways.

I have a friend who owns a Television production company and gets competition from the local PBS station who undercuts his prices under his costs. They can do it because they get government subsidy and tax-free donations to cover their capital costs.

In the case of Internet access, the FCC rulings of the past few years have destroyed the independent ISP who built the public Internet by offering dialup accounts for $20/month. These same small business have been effectively been dealt out of the equaltion by Michael Powell in the FCC rulings that consider telecommunications as strictly a LEC v LD issue and competition as an issue between cable monopoly v DSL monoply.

Those of us who have lived this nightmare know all we will be left with is a monopoly with the surviving technology. The proper decision, if competition was really important, would be to prohibit the LEC from providing data services (such as Internet access) and let ISPs (or CLECs) compete among themselves with fair UNE-P pricing for Internet services. But face it, the LECs own the FCC and the rest of us have to deal with them both on the wholsale and retail level.

As far as municipal competition is concerned I think it is strictly a straw man in the larger battle. It is better than having Lexis claiming ownership to the court recrods that they were paid to collect with public funds.


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