The December 2008, issue of Broadband Properties features an article that offers advice to incoming President Obama regarding broadband policy. Some of the comments center around community networks. Tim Nulty makes three preliminary points:
- Wireless is a supplement, not a substitute
- Access to fiber networks is key to full participation in society
- Optical fiber is the most perfect natural monopoly ever invented
Building on these points, he says:
Points 1, 2 and 3 mean we have no choice but to put the government directly and unapologetically into the picture… just as we do with other basic public utilities such as water, police, education and fire protection. This runs directly counter to the recent policy, under which optical fiber systems have been steadily removed from regulation covering the key issues of universal coverage and common carriage (referred to these days as “network neutrality”). These same issues have been fought over in other arenas such as toll roads, the postal service, canals, railroads, airwaves and the telephone since the founding of the Republic. The issues are not new at all! Only the technology of optical networks is new.
I offered a number of priorities:
- No federal policy should preempt the right of communities to build their own networks
- The feds should prevent states from preempting community authority to build their own networks
- Feds should provide low-interest financing for public networks
- Feds should provide grants to networks that are open-access
Finally, Wes Rosenbalm, the President and CEO of Bristol Virginia Utilities offered a short piece explaining why barriers to publicly owned broadband must be lifted. To find these gems and more, read the article linked below.