Muni broadband fight isn’t over yet

More than 10 years ago, I started MuniWireless. I thought I would be writing strictly about large-scale municipal Wi-Fi projects, but soon after I launched the site, I became drawn into battles in the United States between the cable-telco duopoly and everyone else (business owners, residents, tech companies, and certain officials in states, counties and cities) who wanted more competition in the market for broadband services.

A number of US states have laws that restrict communities from building their own broadband networks — wired and wireless. These laws have been written by lobbyists for cable and telecom companies and passed by legislators who think this is the best way to ensure that their constituents have the best broadband available for the best price. Everyone (except the legislators who pass these laws and their incumbent friends) knows this is ludicrous, but somehow these battles continue and the incumbents, helped by their legislator friends, continue to block true competition.

I did my part in helping those who fought against anti-municipal broadband laws in several states and I’m angry that those who are supposed to serve the common good (i.e. lawmakers) have taken the side of the incumbents against the people who elected them.

Andy Abramson, a frequent contributor to MuniWireless, recently pointed out in his blog post entitled Muni Broadband Still Mangled by Incumbents’ Political Clout asks:

Do government leaders want to limit the growth, or are they simply following the requests of their political donors?

Comments

  1. man, those practices are common not only in USA but in Europe also; here(central Europe) they want anybody to have minimum 30mbit/s to 2020 and they also want ‘consolidate market’ what means – two or three big providers stay only on market, damn

  2. The government simply needs to stay out of it. By that I also mean they need to remove all the regulatory roadblocks to private companies that want to make this a business. Also, technology hasn’t been standing still. New wireless technologies are out that make it hard to justify spending $10,000 per house for 100Mbps when the user only uses 7Mbps today and maybe 30Mbps in 2 years. Wireless can do that today for $250 per house and 100-250Mbps within a year. All the stuff that is coming out in my next article will be available in PTMP before the year is out. We shouldn’t be jumping to embrace government for anything since they are the most inefficient operation possible in delivering any service.