by Mike Masnick
Thu, Apr 23rd 2009 3:11am
A bunch of readers have been sending in the story of Time Warner and Embarq working overtime to try to stop a small city in North Carolina, named Wilson, from offering its own broadband service. These types of stories aren't new at all. The incumbent telco and cablecos have spent tons of time, money and effort trying to fight muni-broadband plans. Of course, the story is almost always the same. The incumbents have done little to actually provide state of the art broadband, so the municipality comes up with a plan to compete by offering a better service. The incumbents flip out and try to get the competition legally blocked. The whole thing is silly. The incumbent providers always are operating thanks to gov't subsidies and rights of way, and have often abused those positions to offer inferior service. A municipality deciding to compete is a perfectly reasonable response when the incumbent providers have not lived up to their end of the bargain by misusing those rights of way and failing to offer a competitive service. And, of course, if the incumbents are really concerned about muni-competition, they could just take some of that money they dump into legal fights and put it towards (gasp!) improving the broadband they offer.
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