Date: April 25th, 2017
Bill Introduced in Maine Legislature to Limit Local Authority over Broadband Investment
HP 1040/LD 1516 would further entrench telecommunication monopoly power in The Pine Tree State.
Christopher Mitchell | firstname.lastname@example.org
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Maine State Representative Nathan Wadsworth (R-Hiram) introduced a bill to revoke local authority over building Internet networks needed by local businesses and residents. The one-time Maine state ALEC chair introduced HP 1040 (also cross filed as LD 1516) to advantage the big cable and telephone monopolies.
This bill will introduce procedural hurdles to discourage local governments from investing in modern broadband networks, including public-private partnerships with companies rooted in Maine – like GWI. Little has changed since 2014, when Gizmodo rated Maine 49th in terms of broadband Internet service. Rather than finding ways to encourage investment, this bill would have the state actually slow it.
“This effort joins a national trend of big cable and telephone companies, like Time Warner Cable and FairPoint, leaning heavily on state legislatures to protect themselves from competition,” says Christopher Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Networks initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “Communities do not make these investments when they are well served. If big cable and telephone companies want to preserve market share, they should invest in better services rather than crony capitalist laws.”
A recent Pew survey showed that both Democrats and Republicans (74% and 67%, respectively) support local authority for cities to invest in their own municipal networks. That’s what makes this out-of-touch state law so baffling.
This bill would place Maine with the nearly two dozen other states that have barriers to broadband investment. Read more about state barriers to community broadband at MuniNetworks.org, if you’re interested in scheduling an interview with Christopher Mitchell to frame these issues for your audience email here or follow up with him directly.
About Christopher Mitchell:
Christopher Mitchell is the Director of the Community Broadband Networks initiative with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Mitchell leads the acclaimed MuniNetworks.org as part of ILSR’s effort to ensure broadband networks are directly accountable to the communities that depend upon them. He is a leading national expert on community networks, advising high-ranking broadband decision-makers and speaking on radio and television programs across the United States.