Can Someone Explain How Knowing What Broadband Providers Offer Will Kill Coffee Shops?
from the this-is-not-the-telco-regulation-bill-you-are-looking-for dept
The big broadband providers certainly are known for playing dirty when it comes to lobbying against any kind of regulation that forces them to be a bit more fair or honest. Remember when BellSouth threatened to move a local call center out of town and fire a bunch of locals, if it didn’t get to keep a service monopoly in parts of Louisiana? That was fun. Sometimes they’ll just say anything to try to get politicians to heed their will. We already know that they don’t want to accurately report where they offer broadband and how fast it really is — because that would highlight how little competition there really is, and how far behind much of the developed world the US is when it comes to broadband speeds. Instead, they prefer to just point to the bogus FCC stats that the Government Accountability Office has said multiple times are worthless and not at all accurate.
Apparently, the state of Maryland had enough of this and was proposing a bill that would require ISPs to say where they really offered service and what speeds were available. The broadband providers were quick to revolt, screaming about what an incredible burden it would be. It seems difficult to believe that these providers don’t already have very detailed lists of where they provide service and at what speeds. However, where the argument truly gets bizarre is that the lobbyists for the broadband providers claimed that passing such a law would somehow put coffee shops out of business. How they get from point A to point B isn’t at all clear, but when you’ve got yourself a regulated monopoly or duopoly, apparently you’ll say just about anything to keep control. There must be something more to the explanation, because the idea that actually admitting what they offer would shut down coffee shop seems entirely disconnected. Perhaps there was something else in the bill that would make it seem more reasonable — but so far, it’s not at all clear. If someone has a better explanation for the reasoning, please let us know. However, whatever the reasoning, the strategy has worked. The politicians have backed off, apparently out of fear that they would be unable to get their morning coffee if the local broadband providers they regulate actually had to admit what kind of service they really offered.