That's a lobby group with members such as Comcast, Cox, Eagle Communications, and Time Warner Cable. The bill was introduced this week, referred to the Committee on Commerce, and scheduled for discussion for Tuesday of next week.
That hearing will now be delayed as the cable lobbyists strategize on a bill that less transparently serves only their interests. As usual, we see the cable lobbyists claiming that municipal networks use taxpayer dollars, despite the reality that most do not.
Much of what I see in Kansas points to Time Warner Cable being behind this - a lame attempt to stop Google Fiber using lobbying power rather than innovating and investing. However, the bill has tremendously negative implications for rural Kansas because local governments are often the only entities that care if their communities have the Internet access they need in the modern economy.
It stretches credulity to think Kansas would pass a bill that would prevent Google from expanding its network in the region. But we have seen a number of states (ahem, North Carolina) pass cable-authored bills that prevent communities from building fiber optic networks if they have anything faster than dial-up available in even part of town.
The cable lobby would consider it a win if they can still push a bill through that would kill municipal networks while allowing approaches like Google Fiber and Wicked (in Lawrence) to expand.
Fortunately, Google has a history of opposing restraints on local authority to build networks and it is part of a business coalition opposing this bill. As with most Americans, that coalition believes any decision on whether a network is a wise investment should be made locally, not in Topeka or in DC.
Craig Settles' had a Chanute official on the Gigabit Nation audio show to discuss the bill and impact on rural Kansas:
Online Internet Radio at Blog Talk Radio with cjspeaks on BlogTalkRadio
At least once a week in my 48 months of public service, I was told by someone that the purpose of the Commission was to create a "level playing field." No one meant it. The proponents of this view wanted someone else to be burred under their "level" field. And I never believed our job was "leveling." Should a jury declare a defendant neither guilty nor innocent, but only express a neutral view?