Coalition Urges Feds To Allow Municipal Broadband Networks - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Infrastructure

Coalition Urges Feds To Allow Municipal Broadband Networks

High technology companies, local governments, and consumer organizations urge Congress to pass legislation that will ensure that local governments are allowed to provide broadband network access to their residents and businesses.

A coalition of high technology companies, local governments and consumer organizations have urged Congress to pass legislation that will ensure that local governments be allowed to provide broadband network access to their residents and businesses.

The coalition is responding to recent efforts by some state governments to prevent municipal governments from offering community broadband services. Thirteen states have already adopted legislation that restricts the creation or expansion of such services by local governments.

The coalition's efforts dovetail with expected moves by influential members of Congress, according to published reports. According to the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., plan to introduce legislation that will not allow states to prohibit cities from offering high-speed Internet access to their residents.

Both actions are in response to legislative moves designed to keep municipalities out of the Internet-services arena. Last month, a Republican congressman from Texas, Pete Sessions, introduced legislation seeking to prohibit local governments from providing telecommunications service where private companies already offered competing services. Sessions, a former employee of Southwestern Bell, has received more than $75,000 in political contributions from telecom giant SBC, according to several published reports. Sessions' wife also still works for SBC.

The high-tech and local-government coalition, representing some 40 local governments and dozens of other organizations, cites the Bush administration's public commitment to ensure universal broadband access in the United States by 2007. In its letter to Congress, it argues that "community broadband networks provide an essential catalyst for market competition, economic development, and universal, affordable Internet access for all Americans."

Responding to concerns that community networks are incompatible with private sector competition, the coalition has compared the effort to provide public universal broadband access to 19th century efforts to bring electricity to rural areas. The letter continues, "the choice should continue to be made by local leaders who are directly accountable to their communities, using open and competitively neutral processes, and should not be foreclosed by state or federal law."

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Commentary
2021 Outlook: Tackling Cloud Transformation Choices
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  1/4/2021
News
Enterprise IT Leaders Face Two Paths to AI
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  12/23/2020
Slideshows
10 IT Trends to Watch for in 2021
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  12/22/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
Download this report to compare how cloud usage and spending patterns have changed in 2020, and how respondents think they'll evolve over the next two years.
Video
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you.
Slideshows
Flash Poll