Techdirt Podcast Episode 9: Is Muni Broadband A Monopoly Killer Or A Killer Monopoly?

from the the-debate-rages-on dept

Just this morning we wrote about a newly proposed bill that would stop states from blocking municipal broadband. This comes just a few weeks after President Obama similarly proposed having the FCC pre-empt state efforts to block cities from offering up their own broadband service. Muni broadband is often seen as a way to fight oligopolistic control of the broadband market by letting local communities offer another competitor (and often better, cheaper service). Critics, however, argue that local governments shouldn't be competing with private companies, and we shouldn't have governments getting into the broadband space at all. At the same time, they worry about the federal government stepping in to block states from making their own laws (though they don't seem to express similar concern about states blocking municipalities from making their own decisions). This week on the Techdirt podcast, we discuss municipal broadband and whether it's good government interference in the market, adding competition against incumbent legacy providers, or bad government interference in the market.

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Filed Under: broadband, muni broadband, municipal broadband


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jan 2015 @ 6:35pm

    As a general rule, other than providing basic infrastructure, the state should try to maintain a hands-off policy and only step in to the economic arena on rare occasions and to the smallest degree possible, primarily to break up corporate monopolies and provide a level playing field for free-market competition.

    A good question is why fiber-optic lines are not automatically thought of as public infrastructure in the same way that roads and bridges are. And like roads and bridges, once lines are laid down, traffic should be open to any company that wants to do business over those optical lines, whether it's providing internet service, 'cable' TV, telephone service, or anything else. That would be far better than granting one company a complete monopoly over those lines.

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