Public Knowledge recently had me as a guest on their "In the Know" weekly podcast. Our interview is the last half of the show. The videos we reference in the discussion are embedded below.
Craig Settles has announced a new weekly audio show, Gigabit Nation, that will streamed across the Internet as well as available for on-demand listening. The first show is on Wednesday, July 27, at 14:00 EDT featuring Chattanooga's EPBFi FTTH community network.
The schedule for upcoming guests is quite heavy on community networks and private companies that are partnering with communities to build networks that respond to their needs.
Gigabit Nation’s mission is threefold: 1) inform listeners how to get meaningful broadband into communities everywhere, 2) help communities increase broadband adoption and 3) provide a vehicle for people to work together – and with organizations – to get broadband done.
On April 8, 2011, FCC Commissioners Clyburn and Copps spoke at the National Conference for Media Reform, held in Boston by Free Press. The moderator asked Commissioner Clyburn about her comments calling on North Carolina to cease consideration of a bill advanced by Time Warner Cable to preempt local authority to build superior broadband networks.
The entire event is available via Free Press' Conference site but we isolated the comments about local authority here.
It took far more longer than expected, due to the many phone calls from concerned citizens opposing it, but Time Warner Cable's investments in the North Carolina Legislature have finally paid off. A bill that will crush its only potential broadband competition in the state is sitting on the Governor's desk. We join with SEATOA, the vast majority of businesses in North Carolina who depend on broadband, and local communities in calling on the Governor to veto it.
The NC House had to approve it again due to changes made in the Senate -- including a change that absolutely gutted the rural exemption for communities who are lacking access broadband access to the Internet. Representative Avila and other sponsors have made many promises throughout this process that they never intended to hold true to.
SEATOA has long organized to preserve local authority in this matter and reported:
We made certain Rep. Avila understood that that clarification gutted the exemption and she did not care. e-NC reports that the private sector providers are permitted to report an entire Census Block as having access to internet, if only one home in the block actually has it. In essence, North Carolina will have no "unserved areas" or communities will have to do their own door to door surveys, an expensive and monumental feat.
But what do you expect from elected officials who calls something a "level field" while bragging that they are crafting rules (such as limited service territories) that only apply to the community networks, which already operate at a disadvantage to a $19 billion a year competitor like bill author Time Warner Cable?
When the bill passed the Senate, a newspaper in Davidson noted its unequal approach that further handicapped communities:
Davidson Mayor John Woods said Tuesday MI-Connection deserves to be treated the same as private companies.
“We strongly object to the territory limits that this bill will impose on MI-Connection which are not imposed on other broadband providers. In addition, MI-Connection would remain subject to open meeting laws, which do not apply to those other providers,” he said.
Mr. Venzon also said local governments already face other rules that put them at a disadvantage to private competitors, including the requirement to...
I just noticed that Progressive States Network has published the audio from a phone call we did on March 31 about community broadband networks. I was one of the four guest speakers -- we each spoke for 5-10 minutes and then answered questions from the audience. Progressive States Network has long advocated in the states to recognize and preserve local authority to decide whether to build a community broadband network.
Other guests included:
- Washington State Representative John McCoy
- Ben Lennett, Senior Policy Analyst, New America Foundation
- Craig Settles, Founder and President, Successful.com
We have again isolated individual comments from the arguments around Time Warner Cable's bill to strip local authorities of the right to build broadband networks vastly superior to their services. On April 13, the Senate Finance Committee allowed public comment on TWC's H129 bill. Craig Settles has posted an extended story about a small business struggling to get by with the existing paucity of service in her community.
There was no hope that I could efficiently communicate, collaborate, and share online documents and applications with clients and peer professionals. I couldn’t even buy a functional phone line. For years I paid for a level of service from Centurylink that I can only describe as absolutely embarrassing.
This bill will make it vastly harder, if not impossible, for communities to build the necessary infrastructure to succeed in the digital economy. Listening to those pushing the bill, it is very clear they have no conception of the vast difference between barely broadband DSL from CenturyLink and Wilson's Greenlight community fiber network -- essentially the difference between a hang glider and a Boeing 747. And many in North Carolina don't even have access to the hang glider! Yet the Legislature cares more about protecting the monopoly of powerful companies that contribute to their campaigns than ensuring all residents and businesses have access to the fast, affordable, and reliable broadband they need to flourish.
Thanks to Voter Radio for making audio from the hearing available. Each of the following comments is approximately 2 minutes long.
We have isolated some of the more stirring comments from legislators opposing the Time Warner Cable bill to limit local authority to build, own, or operate their own broadband networks. These come from the floor of the House of Representatives when the House voted to approve the bill and send it to the Senate.
It is worth noting that a variety of Republicans, particuarly from rural areas, had supported community rights over Time Warner Cable in some of the committee discussions around this bill. But in the end, not a single Republican stood with local authority in this matter -- they all chose to overrule local decision-making with a one-size-fits-all approach from Raleigh that greatly favors massive companies like Time Warner Cable and CenturyLink.
Below, we have created bite-size chunks of speeches that capture some of the key arguments presented by those seeking to defend local authority.
A CBC show, Spark, offers a content-rich 40 minute interview with Barbara van Schewick discussing how the Internet developed and the role of network neutrality. Her explanation is very accessible, a great opportunity for people who are trying to learn more about the issue but frustrated at technical discussions.
Highly recommended. She explains how the innovate applications and products we use today developed precisely because no one controls the Internet. The danger now is that powerful ISPs may exert more control and retard the innovative nature of the net.
The day before the FCC's Chairman decided that AT&T and Comcast should have greater powers as gatekeepers to the Internet, Marketplace Tech Report published an interview with Tim Wu.
Tim Wu discusses the history of net neutrality and its importance. In addition to the usual 5 minute clip, they have released a longer 20 minute clip. Listen to the longer one.