Connecticut Gets Tired Of Waiting For State's Regional Broadband Duopoly, Starts Pushing Gigabit Networks
from the build-it-or-get-out-of-the-way dept
Pixelpusher220 writes in to note that numerous Connecticut cities are tired of waiting for Comcast and Frontier to give a damn, and have issued a RFP/RFQ (Request for Quotation) to begin examining the construction of gigabit networks. Roughly 46 of Connecticut's 169 towns and cities (accounting for 50% of the state's population) have signed up so far, with an eye on striking a privately-funded, public/private partnership. What started with a $4 million federal broadband expansion grant by the NTIA, quickly shifted toward Connecticut making it easier for companies to come in and compete using pole attachment reform:
"Connecticut is the one state in the country that has fixed the unbelievably difficult issue of attaching wires to poles. Rather than letting pole owners hold up every requestor by creating delays and making demands for special payments (seriously: pole-attachment scuffles are the long-running soap operas of telecom), Connecticut requires pole owners to obey a Single Pole Administrator, adhere to uniform pricing agreements, and act to make way for new wires in a set time. Dramatic stuff. And Connecticut already had passed a statute giving municipalities the right to use a part of a pole, or “gain,” for any purpose. These two elements made Connecticut an extremely attractive place to string a network."Well, attractive if you're actually interested in offering cutting-edge service. Less attractive perhaps if you're a regional duopoly or monopoly trying desperately to maintain the status quo and spend as little money as possible on customer service or your network. ISPs, as is so frequently the case, have responded with the usual assortment of false claims that either gigabit speeds already exist (only if you're talking about the core network), or customers don't really want this kind of speed:
"The incumbent cable and telcos are not standing idly by. The New England Cable Television Association, NECTA (essentially speaking for Comcast) has fired at the plan, variously claiming that (a) the state already has adequate capacity, so no one needs a gig, (b) if gig networks are needed, they’ve already been built, (c) if new networks are built via the Connecticut plan (a plan supported by the four largest cities in the state as well as 42 other towns), taxpayers will have to pay for them. None of this is true."Of course none of this would even be possible in the twenty states where incumbent ISPs have managed to write and lobby for laws restricting towns and cities from getting involved in the broadband market, even if the goal is public/private partnerships to deploy service to areas ISPs couldn't care less about. While Google Fiber is certainly great, its limited deployment can only accomplish so much. It's really from the local level up that we're going to improve the nation's stagnant broadband fortunes. And like net neutrality, while framed as a partisan issue by the usual assortment of Congressional marionettes, being able to dictate your own community's infrastructure future has broad, bipartisan public support.