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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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  • What is a web site, but writing, images, sounds, and data. Kansas has been officially disconnected from the Internet.

    Not disconnected, but it sounds like municipal web sites may be verboten.

  • by resistant (221968) on Friday January 31, 2014 @09:39AM (#46119059) Homepage Journal

    I've been observing this sort of greedy corporatism for years. We seriously need to first set up a nationally recognized, "voluntary" standard that at least four competing broadband providers should be available in each jurisdiction and then start a national nonprofit organization that relentlessly pressures non-compliant local and state governments into abolishing laws and regulations that discourage or outright prevent this kind of minimum coverage. Constant lawsuits that dig up dirt about payoffs to politicians and expose semi-monopolies would be an excellent idea as well. It may be a little early to truly establish the idea that universal access to low-cost, high-speed Internet communications is a basic human right, but it's a good propaganda tool.

    I'm a dreaming fanatic about free markets, but we don't have free markets for broadband Internet access. We have utterly corrupt corporatism. It's high time to savagely fight back against the greedy parasites at Time Warner and Cox and the rest who absolutely hate the idea of having to give up their bloated, government-protected profits.

  • by gaudior (113467) on Friday January 31, 2014 @09:45AM (#46119103) Homepage

    Then again, maybe the politicians just don't even bother trying to have a cover story anymore, because they know we already consider them all nothing but self-serving asshats, yet the majority will still vote them back into office again and again and again.

    The only way things will change is to always vote out the incumbent. Every time. Even if you agree with 100% of their positions and votes. Lets spend a few election cycles churning up the sludge. Maybe some of them will get the hint, and maybe some better people will see that they have a shot at getting in, once the old-boy network has been rattled to pieces.

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

    by Sique (173459) on Friday January 31, 2014 @10:00AM (#46119199) Homepage
    Kansas legislators will tell you that this law is actually about not regulating the market -- by locking out municipalities from supporting or providing broadband, they let the market decide, and the market decides that there is no necessity to ever have more than one broadband provider, and in some cases, even no broadband provider is sufficient.
  • Only 20% Served (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jason Levine (196982) on Friday January 31, 2014 @10:51AM (#46119607)

    The law is horrible in many ways. The three that stand out to me:

    1) Municipalities are allowed to engage in broadband efforts ONLY if 9 out of 10 homes in a census block have no broadband. This means that the big ISPs can wire up 11% of homes and call it a day. The other 89%? Too bad, but you guys aren't profitable enough to care about.

    2) Satellite and mobile is counted as broadband. Never mind that satellite would be hideously expensive or that mobile can have tiny caps compared to wired broadband. In fact, it doesn't matter if the ISP is going to charge you $200 a month for 1GB of access. That's considered available access and you can't launch a municipal broadband effort.

    3) This bill was literally written by the big ISPs who don't want competition from Google Fiber and municipal broadband. So the cries of "this will increase competition" are out-and-out lies. This is all about protecting the profits of the big ISPs by preventing municipalities from serving the non-served. The ISPs are afraid that, if municipalities are able to do this by themselves, they won't give lots of cash to Verizon, etc to build and run out networks. (Which those ISPs can then pocket, not build the networks, and lobby to keep them from having to uphold their end of the deal.)

  • Re:Honest name (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sribe (304414) on Friday January 31, 2014 @11:59AM (#46120383)

    Better idea, how about a bill which bans government from providing or subsidizing broadband in any county in which broadband (at least 5Mb/s) is available to 100% of residences. Think about it ;-)

Never test for an error condition you don't know how to handle. -- Steinbach