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Networking The Internet

Utah Bill Would Prevent Regional Fiber Networks From Growing 111

Posted by Soulskill
from the stop-obstructing-my-internet dept.
symbolset writes "On the heels of the smackdown received by cable lobbyists in Kansas, Ars reports out of Utah that the cable companies aren't giving up hopes of preventing competition through legislation. The bill, called Interlocal Entity Service Prohibition, would prevent a regional fiber consortium from building infrastructure outside the boundaries of its member cities and towns — a direct attack on Google's work in Provo and the UTOPIA network. Utah is the third state to be involved in the Google Fiber rollout of gigabit fiber to the home."
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Utah Bill Would Prevent Regional Fiber Networks From Growing

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  • by Delarth799 (1839672) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @07:37PM (#46167985)
    With another election year here it's time to roll out the bribe.... I mean campaign contributions to those who are willing to support the legislation being presented before them. Wouldn't surprise me in the least if most of those opposed to this had the big telcos or any PAC they setup start rolling out attack ads against them shortly.
  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @07:56PM (#46168179)
    The rich & powerful are going to use gov't whether you like it or not. If there is no gov't they'll use their wealth to create institutions that might as well be. I've yet to hear a convincing argument otherwise.

    So if they're going to use the tool that is gov't, I don't see any reason why I shouldn't. The worst that'll happen is the jack boot in my neck is a public one instead of a private. And at least with a strong central gov't I can vote against Jack Boots...
  • Re:HB60 Pulled (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Areyoukiddingme (1289470) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @08:20PM (#46168425)

    It's an election year. Begging for attack ads from one of the world's largest advertising companies is a losing proposition.

    "Never pick a fight with a man who buys his ink by the barrel."

    Google practically INVENTED 'ink' as it's used today. If they ever decide to really earnestly get down in the muck with the SuperPACs, it'll be a fun time in the old town.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @08:47PM (#46168667)

    But, we better legislate against it just in case.

  • by symbolset (646467) * on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @11:56PM (#46170125) Journal
    This is not a case of governments competing with a private company. Fast Internet is a valuable social good that private companies flat refuse to provide. Since they refuse to provide it, citizens are providing it for themselves through their governments. That this obsoletes the slow Internet cable companies want to provide does not mean they compete. They are substantially different things.
  • by Enigma2175 (179646) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @01:20AM (#46170639) Homepage Journal

    Because there is no true competition when a government decides to compete with a private company. The government "company" has the benefit of mandatory "customers" (taxpayers), which means people who don't want to be customers are forced to help pay for those who do, and those who are customers of the private company are actually paying twice.

    If you want competition, don't create an artificial market run at sub-market pricing supported by taxpayers. Let the competitors fight it out on even ground.

    In my market, Comcast pays the city a franchise fee for every subscriber they have, which results in net income for the city over and above the payroll and property taxes they pay. This money gets dumped into the general fund to pay for ... anything the city council wants to use it for.

    Nothing is stopping another cable company from entering the market but none has. If someone could come undercut Comcast honestly, and not sell services for less because the deficit is made up from the general tax fund, they would. Why not? Because they look at the market and see that it won't support two companies. The government, with essentially bottomless pockets, pays no attention to markets and doesn't care about operating at a loss. If they lose money from that service, they'll just plead for more money at the next election and hold other services hostage. Our city does it on a regular basis, threatening to close the library and the public pool and the senior center unless they get more money, but never do they threaten to eliminate the unnecessary things they do.

    That's why it is bad.

    But the problem with the current situation is since there is a natural barrier to competition because not every provider can be allowed to use easements to run their lines. The way cities handled this in the past was granting a single company a monopoly on providing a certain service. This doesn't work well in practice, particularly in industries that are not heavily regulated by the franchise authority like cable TV.

    The solution to this problem is for the city to own a fiber network and any company that wants to provide IP services (TV, phone, internet) over this network is free to do so. This gives a level playing field for all competitors who want to provide this kind of service. The existing monopoly system does not work for anyone but the monopoly holder, it certainly does not work for the consumer.

    Full disclosure, I am a subscriber of one of the fiber networks mentioned in the summary and so I might be biased.

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