National Muni-Broadband Ban Proposed By Former SBC Employee

from the paying-back... dept

With all of the stories about attempts at creating muni-broadband offerings, and an equal number of stories about incumbent lobbyists pushing laws to ban muni broadband it was only a matter of time before those lobbyists realized that fighting fires on a city to city basis (or even a state to state basis) was inefficient. Instead, they convinced a former SBC employee, now Congressman, Pete Sessions to sponsor a bill that would ban muni-broadband across the country, except in cases of “market failure.” Unfortunately, the details show that the definition of “market failure” is quite ridiculous. It basically is defined as if anyone is offering any broadband anywhere nearby,” the market is working fine. So, poor, under-served communities can’t get muni-broadband if the incumbent decides to redline and only offer DSL to the wealthy neighborhoods. On the whole, we agree that there shouldn’t be muni-broadband where the market can take care of things — but, honestly, if the market is working effectively and there’s real competition for broadband, then why would a municipality plan to offer broadband anyway? In most places people only have one or two choices for broadband, and despite showy claims and promotional prices, there is almost no real competition at all. The muni bans aren’t about “competition,” but the opposite. They’re about protecting regulated monopolies by incumbent providers.

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