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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 Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @07:33PM (#46167947)

    Please, please Mr. Politician, can't you help our poor, poor monopolies protect our billions and prevent our customers from choosing a better service for a better price? It's just not fair!!

  • by jxander (2605655) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @07:40PM (#46168019)
    If you can't beat them, legislate them.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @07:43PM (#46168065)

    Apparently it must be AVOIDED at all costs.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @07:44PM (#46168087)

    We're in a post-free market. One where buying and selling goods is a secondary market, ruled by the laws of buying and selling laws and regulations.

  • by tysonedwards (969693) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @08:04PM (#46168267)
    The concern in this case is that the public sector is using tax dollars and grants from federal entities to overbuild an existing private network, in turn generating income in the areas that have higher densities at the expense of the less dense areas. This effectively leaves those "unserved" still without service, despite all residents paying for the network via their property taxes.

    Should the same thing be done by a new-comer into private industry, done without tax dollars, or would connect all those who wanted it there would not be a problem. Protecting monopolistic behavior is simply the knee-jerk reaction to the story.

    Further, as Google's Provo offering is no longer a "public entity" offering, it isn't even subject to the bill.
    However, at the same point Google would not have been able to enter the marketplace in Provo should the town not have done the initial heavy lifting.
  • by Areyoukiddingme (1289470) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @08:16PM (#46168377)

    Yes, they're forcing logged in users over to Beta. Not all of us at once, but in waves.

    If you find an alternative site, I'm all ears.

    Or if you set up an alternative site, since older versions of SlashCode are open source.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @09:21PM (#46168933) Homepage Journal

    The concern in this case is that the public sector is using tax dollars and grants from federal entities to overbuild an existing private network

    And that's bad because...?

    Let's not BS about this "private network" you refer to. It's only "private" in as much as the profits are held privately. It exists in large part thanks to public subsidies, set-asides and tax abatement. It's built on public land and right-of-ways. It got "private" because government gave telecoms and cable television special protections and specifically limited competition on their behalf.

    Tell you what: As long as the entities that own these "private" networks actually start to obey the spirit of anti-trust laws and stop trying to become content providers and as long as they get on board with 100% net neutrality and as long as they stop asking for special tax dispensations, and as long as the market actually becomes competitive, then maybe we can talk about protecting their "private" network.

    Until then, they need to take their scummy lobbyists and stop ripping people off or as far as I'm concerned, the whole network should be nationalized and turned into a public utility.

  • by Obfuscant (592200) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @10:38PM (#46169545)

    And that's bad because...?

    The fact you ask that means you probably won't accept the answer, but here goes ...

    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.

    Tell you what: As long as the entities that own these "private" networks ...

    Yes, I understand. Free markets only for those who do things the way you want them done. Otherwise the government must solve the problem by competing with them.

    and as long as they stop asking for special tax dispensations,

    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.

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