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FCC Warned Not To Take Actions a Republican-Led FCC Would Dislike 338

tlhIngan writes Municipal broadband is in the news again — this time Chief of Staff Matthew Berry, speaking at the National Conference of State Legislatures, has endorsed states' right to ban municipal broadband networks and warned the (Democrat-led) FCC to not do anything that a future Republican led FCC would dislike. The argument is that municipal broadband discourages private investment in broadband communications, that taxpayer-funded projects are barriers to future infrastructure investment.
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FCC Warned Not To Take Actions a Republican-Led FCC Would Dislike

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  • Correction: (Score:5, Informative)

    by Type44Q ( 1233630 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @07:16PM (#47724749)

    this time Chief of Staff Matthew Berry, speaking at the National Conference of State Legislatures, has endorsed states' right to ban municipal broadband networks

    He's endorsed the right of the people in each state to get bent over by massively-corrupt telcos with their monopolistic behaviors - by reinforcing their monopolies - all in the name of a free market (despite the fact that it's anything but).


  • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @08:09PM (#47725103) Journal

    You seem to have completely missed his point, so let me break that long sentence into four short sentences for you:

    The is FCC deciding if it has the (unconstitutional) power to decide whether or not municipal broadband is built, disregarding state law.
    If the FCC assumes that power, a future FCC chairman would therefore have the power to ban municipal broadband.
    That would be bad.
    Therefore, don't assume new powers that you wouldn't want your successor to have.

    I'm not sure if I agree in this case. I do agree with the general principle- if you acquiesce to Obama assuming new powers, president Jeb Bush will inherit those new powers in a couple years.

  • Re:Correction: (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 21, 2014 @08:13PM (#47725131)

    This is the exact problem with the USPS - they are delivering to all the not-so-profitable rural areas for UPS, FedEx and DHL. The USPS doesn't have a choice in the matter and to boot are forced to fund their things into the future no private company could or would ever fund.

    Business people don't have a problem with the USPS arrangement. But now they have a problem when the same rules may apply to them in a negative way?


    People argue that the reason the USPS thing is different is because 'my taxes pay for the USPS!'. No, they don't. The USPS is funded entirely on it's product sales and services.

    CAPCHA: dueling

  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @08:16PM (#47725141) Journal
    Because a city in Utah had already started a system and had it in place, they were able to lease it to Google, which Google did.
    If anything, that shows that gov. helping its citizens, and then working businesses, goes MUCH FURTHER, than allowing large business monopolies.
  • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @08:19PM (#47725157) Journal

    No, he didn't say everything needs to have bipartisan support. He said that if the FCC assumes a NEW power, the power to override state law and ban or require municipal broadband, the FCC will still have that power when Jeb Bush is president. If you decide that the FCC can choose whether or not muni is built, a different FCC chairman would inherit that power and could ban municipal broadband. Don't assume new powers for yourself if you don't want your successor to have the same power.

    That's something I keep in mind. If Palin were president, would I want her administration running the health care industry? If not, I should oppose government run healthcare because we WILL have a president as bad as Palin at some point. Maybe in 2016, maybe in teo years, maybe in six years, maybe in ten years. We will have a horrible president. How much control do I want that crappy president to have over my life?

  • Re:Correction: (Score:5, Informative)

    by mellon ( 7048 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @08:27PM (#47725207) Homepage

    What? No they aren't. This isn't telephone service—it's internet service. There are no regulations requiring them to provide service out in the boondocks. Indeed, Verizon and AT&T received massive government subsidies to expand broadband service to rural customers, and then just decided not to do it and kept the money.

    When I lived in rural southeastern Arizona, I got my DSL service from Valley Telecom, a local customer-owned cooperative that provides internet service, telephone and cellular to the poorly served areas of that rather sparsely populated corner of the state. I had 1.5mbps DSL in 2006 10 miles up a dirt road outside of Bowie, Arizona, pop. 300, for a very reasonable price, and VTC was doing just fine financially. It was a bit cheaper than my current service from Comcast, but that's precisely because Comcast only serves the areas where it can make a profit.

    Meanwhile, back in Verizon territory, my mom, who is on the selectboard of her town (pop. 1200, small but much more dense than Bowie) could not get any kind of broadband in 2006, and the town wound up having to set up their own municipal broadband wireless service using Motorola Canopy radios and a microwave link to Mt. Tom because that's the only way they could avoid a massive drop in property values due to the lack of this essential service in the town, despite the fact that Verizon had been receiving money to pay for installing broadband to towns just like hers for the previous decade.

    So maybe some shill from a cable company told you all about how supporting rural customers is why their service is so expensive, but that's a complete load of bullshit. Local and state governments don't currently have authority to impose regulations of this type on ISPs.

  • Re:Correction: (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 21, 2014 @09:16PM (#47725423)

    Democraps(tm) and Republicants(tm) are two edges to the same sword that is being used to murder the Constitution and America as a country.

    Neither party give a damn about anyone or anything except for the top .01% (yes, top 1/100th of the top 1 percent) and Corporations that can line their wallets.

    Corporations are not people.

    Money is not speech.

    It's time for the ass clowns in office to be audited down to the penny, that would include family and friends for the entirety of their lives before office and ever after office. Any kind of link between a government official and a corporation that was impacted by any change in policy, law, etc during that officials tenure will be grounds for immediate incarceration in Gitmo for the rest of their lives with all of their assets, the official, and the corporation being siezed and liquidated and placed in the social security fund, which will now be protected from the general budget under penalty of death.

    End the revolving door between lobbyist/government official/corporations.

  • Re: yeah (Score:5, Informative)

    by ArmoredDragon ( 3450605 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @10:12PM (#47725691)

    But the same term is often used by others to mean a market free of regulation, which is often the opposite.

    Not quite. Regulations currently forbid a free market in this case. What they're proposing is regulation to remove regulation, which is a good thing in my opinion (and yes, I'm one of those evil free market libertarians.)

    In my opinion, regulation is perhaps the biggest barrier to faster internet connectivity. Not regulation by the federal government, but regulation by the smaller governments. To include but not limited to regulation that forbids community broadband, regulation that says they have to pay absurdly high lease rates to run cabling through conduit, etc.

    Don't ever allow the Republicans to say they are opposed to regulation. Quite the opposite; they love regulation.

  • The important bit (Score:5, Informative)

    by BillX ( 307153 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @10:46PM (#47725897) Homepage

    This has nothing to do with "banning municipal broadband" today, and everything to do with not granting a power at the Fed level that would let a future FCC in 1-2 election cycles do exactly that.


    "If the history of American politics teaches us anything, it is that one political party will not remain in power for perpetuity. At some point, to quote Sam Cooke, 'a change is gonna come,'" Berry said. "And that change could come a little more than two years from now. So those who are potential supporters of the current FCC interpreting Section 706 [of the Telecommunications Act] to give the Commission the authority to preempt state laws about municipal broadband should think long and hard about what a future FCC might do with that power."

    Arguing that municipal broadband networks could discourage investment by private companies, Berry said, "Itâ(TM)s not hard, then, to imagine a future FCC concluding that taxpayer-funded, municipal broadband projects themselves are barriers to infrastructure investment. So if the current FCC were successful in preempting state and local laws under Section 706, what would stop a future FCC from using Section 706 to forbid states and localities from constructing any future broadband projects? Nothing that I can see."

  • Re: yeah (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 21, 2014 @11:02PM (#47725969)

    Do you think most towns can just stand up a muni broadband network on their own? No - they're going to hire some company to build and run their MAN, just the way that many utilities work.

    I and a friend, ie. 2 people have built 4 municipal broadband networks on our own for 4 separate townships in New Zealand.

    So, no, building broadband networks is not difficult and it's not particularly expensive. The hardest part, in New Zealand, at least, is arranging suitable backhaul connections for the networks. Everything else is just leg work and gumboots.

  • Re: Correction: (Score:5, Informative)

    by josquin9 ( 458669 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @11:10PM (#47726019)

    I suspect that he's referring to the idea that a lot of people can't shake that stockhoder voting correlates to the voting booth. In fact, corporations tend to be structured so that one person, or a few "like-minded" people maintain sufficient power that no number of new voters will change the direction of the company, since no newly issued stock goes out without existing shareholders having the ability to buy sufficient shares to maintain their majority status. Companies only change when there are tender offers and the majority shares change hand, being purchased by a new, small cadre of like-minded people. Not because a lot of small shareholders ban together to vote a different way. Individual votes are less meaningful than in a general election.

  • Re:Correction: (Score:5, Informative)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <> on Friday August 22, 2014 @01:12AM (#47726427) Homepage Journal

    Over the last 14 years, the Pubs have been bent on openly doing anything they can to hand everything over to larger corporation. It really start with Reagan, but this millennium they just blatantly lie, and when they get called out their media machine just spreads more lies until people with believe it or the next artificial pub 'controversy' comes up.

    Don't talk about the dems as if it's balances. Both have issues, but the pubs have become far worse. The are basically extremist at this point.

    You have bought into the the trap the pubs have created. 'Both do the same thing to the same degree therefor it doesn't matter.'

    And don't even try to guess how I vote. OTOH, I actual watch CSPAN, read bills, and find the context for any statement a politician make that is reported in the media.
    Sound bite manipulation needs to stop.

  • Re: yeah (Score:5, Informative)

    by cyber-vandal ( 148830 ) on Friday August 22, 2014 @06:46AM (#47727587) Homepage

    I live in the heavily regulated UK and I have a choice of cable from one provider at 152Mbps, FTTC at 78Mbps from about 6 others or normal ADSL2 at around 17Mbps from about 40 others. The infrastructure (with the exception of cable) is run by the former government monopoly which is required by law to sell access to its network to other providers. The barrier to entry is the expense of creating the infrastructure in the first place which would exist even if there was no regulation.

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.