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Kansas To Nix Expansion of Google Fiber and Municipal Broadband 430

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-in-my-state dept.
symbolset writes: "Consumerist, among others, is reporting on a Kansas bill to restrict municipal support of broadband expansion. Purportedly to ensure a 'level playing field' to encourage commercial expansion in this area, these bills are usually referred to as oligopoly protection acts. Everywhere they have been implemented expansion of new broadband technology stops. In this specific case no municipal entity in Kansas will be able to enter the same sort of agreements that enabled Google Fiber. From the bill:
Except with regard to unserved areas, a municipality may not, directly or indirectly:
(1) Offer to provide to one or more subscribers, video, telecommunications or broadband service; or
(2) purchase, lease, construct, maintain or operate any facility for the purpose of enabling a private business or entity to offer, provide, carry, or deliver video, telecommunications or broadband service to one or more subscribers."
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Kansas To Nix Expansion of Google Fiber and Municipal Broadband

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  • A little misleading (Score:5, Informative)

    by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Friday January 31, 2014 @09:19AM (#46118929) Homepage Journal

    I think the bill is a bad idea, but I don't think it would stop Google from deploying fiber elsewhere in Kansas. It doesn't do anything to prevent deployments, it just prevents municipalities from offering the special treatment that helped get KC selected as the first city out of 1100 candidates.

  • Re:munis are broke (Score:5, Informative)

    by FictionPimp (712802) on Friday January 31, 2014 @09:22AM (#46118943) Homepage

    Because AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, etc didn't get any government assistance to build their networks....http://voices.washingtonpost.com/posttech/2010/07/att_verizon_get_most_federal_a.html

  • by dyfet (154716) on Friday January 31, 2014 @09:24AM (#46118957) Homepage

    The law of unintended consequences... While Section 3b, in regards to "video services", makes clear reference to "through wireline facilities located at least in part in the public rights-of-way", and clearly is about cable tv (no thread to netflicks for example), 3d is a very different animal:

    (d) "Telecommunications service" means the two-way transmission of
    signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, messages, data or other
    information of any nature by wire, radio, light waves or other
    electromagnetic means, offered to the public generally.

    Hmm...does not seem to be based on actual broadband service providers or any specific limitations. The way it is written would seem to exclude any form of VoIP or chat "service" (jabber, skype, etc)!!!! WTF?! Way to go Kansas!

  • by portwojc (201398) on Friday January 31, 2014 @09:34AM (#46119029) Homepage

    The bill is by "The committee on commerce" which looks to be... http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2013_14/committees/ctte_s_cmrce_1/

    You might want to contact them. We all know where / how this bill got it's start. You need to voice your opinion and remind them who they really serve.

  • Re:But Kansas! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Shavano (2541114) on Friday January 31, 2014 @09:37AM (#46119051)

    Colorado did the same stupid thing a few years back, after being bribed and or intimidated by the likes of Comcast and Qwest.

  • Re:munis are broke (Score:5, Informative)

    by Stolpskott (2422670) on Friday January 31, 2014 @10:15AM (#46119311)

    munis didn't fund wars... nice try though

    Maybe not... but spending by Munis is also not responsible for the vast majority of US public debt. As of 2012 (the latest year-end I can find data for without logging into Bloomberg and compiling the data):
    US local government debt as a percentage of GDP was around 7-8%.
    US state government debt as a percentage of GDP was around 19-20%.
    US federal government debt as a percentage of GDP was a touch over 120%.

    So, by far the biggest contributor to US public debt is the US Federal Government, and by far the biggest single-ticket item of its expenditure is military spending ($700 Billion per year in direct contract awards), with massive spending on the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The most thorough study that I can find public reference to is by Brown University, which puts the cost of troop deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan and logistical support in Pakistan, plus domestic spending on debt interest to service that cost, at something over $6 Trillion so far, and that is only since 2003.
    The study itself does not seem to be publicly available on the interwebs - Crawford, Neta and Catherine Lutz. "Economic and Budgetary Costs of the Wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan to the United States: A Summary". Costs of War. Brown University.
    But you can check out the Wikipedia article to get the basics: Financial cost of the Iraq War [wikipedia.org]

    Seeing as the current US Federal Debt burden is somewhere between $17 and $17.5 Trillion, the "non-War" debt burden is still a not-inconsiderable $11 Trillion, but the annual Military Gravy Train in the US dwarfs the rest of the debt components.

  • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@aol.cTWAINom minus author> on Friday January 31, 2014 @11:03AM (#46119711) Journal

    We had the same thing happen here a couple of years ago. Oconee county got fed up with the broadband players' reluctance to hook up rural parts of the county, so they decided to go in with the Feds to roll out universal fiber to all, because of the economic implications of such..

    In response, AT&T objected, said they had planned on universal coverage, and lobbied the State for a "level playing field" law that would prohibit hooking residences up to any publicly funded infrastructure where the same subsidies were not given to AT&T and other private carriers.

    The day the bill was signed into Law, the AT&T CEO declared wireline infrastructure dead, and that not one more penny would be sunk into wireline expansion in South Carolina.

  • Re:munis are broke (Score:4, Informative)

    by ReverendLoki (663861) on Friday January 31, 2014 @11:21AM (#46119901)

    Have you seen the scale of rates being charged? They are charging $300 for the fiber install, which they are even willing to finance at 0% interest over a year ($25 a month!), and if you do nothing else, you get a FREE 5 Mbps connection. If you opt for the full connection, they waive the install fee, and then give you 1 GBps down AND up for $70. In addition, they are providing free gigabit service to schools, libraries and hospitals.

    And what is the city giving in return? An expedited permit process, and only charging half as much per pole to connect. How is this a bad deal for the city or it's constituents?

  • Re:But Kansas! (Score:4, Informative)

    by vovin (12759) on Friday January 31, 2014 @01:58PM (#46121581)

    In Hong Kong that will cost you $168 HKD /month on a 6mo contract.
    That is just under $22 USD / month.
    Also includes phone service (not that useful as everyone has cell phone).

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