We'll Work With You, But We'll Sue You At The Same Time
from the getting-started-on-the-right-foot dept
There have been a ton of stories lately about telcos and cable companies doing anything they can possibly do to ban any and all efforts at municipal broadband. One of the ones getting attention lately has been in Louisiana, where BellSouth is spending so much money on fighting the competition that some are wondering why they don’t just use it to install fiber themselves. However, the latest story is just getting ridiculous. Yesterday, they promised to “work with” the local government to come up with an arrangement and today they sued the city. That doesn’t seem like the best way to kick off a good working relationship. The whole municipal broadband debate is getting pretty ridiculous. We’ve been pointing out for years that there’s a simple way to deal with this that helps everyone win. The local governments shouldn’t be running a broadband service themselves. However, they do have the property rights that make it easier to set up a good broadband service — so they can simply treat it like the public road system to a certain extent. Work with companies to build a real, open fiber optic and/or wireless network and then let anyone use it to offer services. Other companies can choose to not use the network and offer something else — but this way you get the high speeds, you get the competition, the incumbents don’t have to build their own networks and everyone is happy — except for those hoping to charge monopoly rents.