The Minnesota Legislature has just approved $35 million for the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant program for fiscal year 2017, the largest annual appropriation in the initiative’s two-year-old history.
The direct assault stalled but now anti-muni legislators in Missouri are going for the flank.
If The Bill Ain't No Good...
The California State Assembly will soon vote on three bills that have significant implications for rural Internet access initiatives in the Golden State.
As I write this, I suspect the "platoon" of lobbyists from AT&T and Comcast in Nashville are waking up with hangovers from celebrations last night after they once again defeated a bill to restore local authority in Tennessee. After a grassroots uprising, we thought the state would finally allow communities to decide for themselves if networks like Chattanooga's famed gigabit EPB would be able to expand.
When local elected officials in Colorado put the issue before constituents last fall, voters in almost 50 communities chose overwhelmingly to reclaim local telecommunications authority. Colorado's state law that strips away local authority, SB 152, permits opt-out through referendum. Referendums are expensive for local communities, but at least they are a way to reclaim the power to decide their own future.
Dear Readers: Since I first wrote this story with my attempt to analyze this bill, I have revisited my earlier interpretation. If you read this bill analysis before, you will notice some changes.
It is starting to become an annual pilgrimage to Jefferson City. Each year, House and Senate leaders on the telecom industry dole, introduce the same anti-competition bill.
For years, many rural communities suffered from a broadband donut hole problem - the investment in better-than-dial-up was in the population center, leaving a donut of poor access around it. Now policy to reverse that in places like Minnesota is perversely creating the opposite problem, to the detriment of the entire community.
This week on the Community Broadband Bits podcast we welcome back Dan Dorman, Executive Director of the Greater Minnesota Partnership. He is also a former legislator and current small business owner in Greater Minnesota.
Facing the threat of municipal broadband networks disrupting their cable and telephone monpolies, big telecom lobbyists wrote a law to restrict municipal networks under the guise of protecting taxpayers. Here's the irony: the law put taxpayers at much greater risk even while restricting their choice of Internet and cable providers.
We have reported on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in the past and stories about ALEC sponsored legislative retreats pop up in the news on a regulary basis. Most recently, NBC Channel 11 from Atlanta reported on the shadowy world of big corporate influence in Georgia.