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How Big Telecom Smothers Municipal Broadband 111

Posted by Soulskill
from the can't-even-trust-the-huge-soulless-corporations-anymore dept.
Rick Zeman writes: The Center for Public Integrity has a comprehensive article showing how Big Telecom (aka, AT&T, Comcast, Charter, Time Warner) use lobbyists, paid-for politicians, and lawsuits (both actual and the threat thereof) in their efforts to kill municipal broadband. From the article: "The companies have also used traditional campaign tactics such as newspaper ads, push polls, direct mail and door-to-door canvassing to block municipal networks. And they've tried to undermine the appetite for municipal broadband by paying for research from think tanks and front groups to portray the networks as unreliable and costly."
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How Big Telecom Smothers Municipal Broadband

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  • This Just In! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pwnyxpress (2597273) on Friday August 29, 2014 @11:38AM (#47784799)
    Group in power tries to maintain power...story at 11.
  • by Joe Gillian (3683399) on Friday August 29, 2014 @11:40AM (#47784811)

    The fact that a 67-year-old grandmother from Tennessee has more progressive views on municipal internet than a large portion of the rest of the country, or that AT&T stepped in and threatened a 67-year-old grandmother over her attempt to provide municipal internet to her community.

  • Re:This Just In! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sabri (584428) on Friday August 29, 2014 @11:58AM (#47784939)

    Because you can't have the government competing with them in an area that they might, someday, begin to consider serving.

    There is only one reason for the government to step in: make it easier for smaller ISPs to start shop. I'd love to start a small ISP in my area, but it is practically impossible.

  • by digsbo (1292334) on Friday August 29, 2014 @11:59AM (#47784947)
    It's funny that when a free-market proponent says government monopolization of some good or service "crowds out" for-profit competition we get called names. It's also funny that when we point out that these companies with government sanctioned monopolies aren't really operating in a free-market environment we get accused of using the "no true scotsman" fallacy.
  • by AnontheDestroyer (3500983) on Friday August 29, 2014 @12:03PM (#47784967)

    She doesn't have more progressive views than most in the country. This is yet another issue that proves the country is an plutocracy rather than a democracy. In this instance, a few corporations (who Republicans will have you believe are, "people") are buying up politicians and subverting the will of the masses.

    It just happens to be one of the more glaring flaws with our campaign finance and electoral systems. And it still can't be fixed.

  • Re:This Just In! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i kan reed (749298) on Friday August 29, 2014 @12:03PM (#47784969) Homepage Journal

    There is only one reason for the government to step in: make it easier for smaller ISPs to start shop. I'd love to start a small ISP in my area, but it is practically impossible.

    Given a few common, yet unproven, assumptions about how markets operate. ISPs operate a lot like utilities in terms of fundamental market behaviors, and the prevalence of natural monopolies. Organizing the structure of the market to allow smaller competitors, to me, is one way a government could help. Not the only way.

  • Re:This Just In! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29, 2014 @12:11PM (#47785039)

    There is only one reason for the government to step in: make it easier for smaller ISPs to start shop. I'd love to start a small ISP in my area, but it is practically impossible.

    No, there is only one real reason for the government to step in: To serve the interests of its citizens.

    You may argue that smaller ISPs are in the interests of the citizenry, that's certainly reasonable enough to assert.

    But never forget why it's done.

  • by i kan reed (749298) on Friday August 29, 2014 @12:16PM (#47785071) Homepage Journal

    It comes from the fallacious belief that non-government created monopolies leveraging their position will face competitors who can "do it for less". The truth is that infrastructure just isn't that conducive to competition. Who'd want 3 different water/sewer systems connected to their house?

  • Re:This Just In! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mr D from 63 (3395377) on Friday August 29, 2014 @12:18PM (#47785089)
    Unfortunately, the major news outlets have long since lost the ability to explain anything of this nature in a factual manner. And since the telecom wield influence over them as well, they aren't likely to help on this one.
  • Re:This Just In! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday August 29, 2014 @01:00PM (#47785429) Homepage

    Because you can't have the government competing with them in an area that they might, someday, begin to consider serving.

    That's not why. It's because they're afraid of getting shown up.

    If you have a bunch of people out in the country getting gigabit internet for $25/month while the city folk are still paying $50/month for 1mbps DSL, it makes AT&T/Verizon look either corrupt or incompetent. It also destroys their argument that they can't provide good Internet in the US because of the low population density.

  • Huh! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DaMattster (977781) on Friday August 29, 2014 @01:19PM (#47785597)
    With all of the money they spend lobbying politicians and rallying people against municipal broadband, they could've built out their networks and made them even better. Utter stupidity!

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