Anti-community legislative roundup

WiFi Net News has a long but informative roundup of all the anti-community legislation in process around the country. While it appears some legislators are resisting teh lobbyist-led push to keep communities at the mercy of the incumbents, it appears that the Philadelphia project (where the City wanted to do a citywide WiFi effort) has motivated the telcos and cable companies to get busy to protect their marketplace monopolies.

While most of the news sites are calling this "anti-muni" legislation, I'm deliberately calling it something else--"antic-community" legislation, because I think that's a better term.

This is an out and out assault on the rights of communities to control their economic future. If the incumbents were open and honest about their plans and were offering good and affordable services, none of these community projects would be underway. But this is an issue of community survival. When Hong Kong is running fiber past a million homes, are communities in the U.S. supposed to sit back and be content with either twenty year old copper technology (DSL, cable modems) or nothing at all?

Affordable broadband is the economic lifeblood of communities. Without affordable broadband, the small businesses of America (remember that small businesses create 75-90% of new jobs) cannot compete in the global economy. While the incumbents are protecting marketshare, communities are becoming increasingly less competitive from and economic development perspective.

Finally, I think communities ought to be regarding their investments like they manage roads, and not like water and sewer. My first choice for communities is to build digital roads and let the private sector create jobs, deliver services, and use those roads to create prosperity in the community.

Creating a new municipal monopoly (i.e. the way water, sewer, and electric is handled) is my second choice. In either case, communities should have the right to make those choices.