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Content tagged with "h3508 2012"Displaying 1 - 8 of 8
Oconee County, South Carolina: Achieving Goals Beyond AT&T Obstruction
Most residents and businesses in Oconee County, South Carolina, used dial-up connections when county officials applied for stimulus funding in 2010; there were still people in the county with no Internet access at all. A few had DSL connections, but even county facilities struggled with antiquated infrastructure. After an AT&T attack upended their plan to offer retail services, they pressed on and improved connectivity in the rural community. Powerful incumbent forces and a bad state law, however, eventually led this community to choose privatization.
Ripe For Stimulus
We spoke with Kim Wilbanks, who served as Project Manager for Oconee FOCUS, the 240-mile fiber optic publicly owned network. She worked with a small team of people that applied for funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to obtain funds for the project. Wilbanks and former FOCUS Director Mike Powell were instrumental in establishing the infrastructure. The Wilbanks family used dial-up Internet access until 2010 when AT&T finally installed DSL on her street on the edge of town in the mostly rural county.
The mountains and hills across the county’s 674 square miles create a terrain that is speckled with man-made lakes. Fishing, water skiing, and sailing are popular and the lakes and waterfalls contribute to the region’s hydroelectric energy. Approximately 75,000 people live in Oconee County scattered within many of the small rural communities. The largest city’s population is only about 8,000.
South Carolina's "Exceptions" To Anti-Community Broadband Law are Worthless
South Carolina's H3508 has [no-glossary]passed[/no-glossary] the legislature, been signed by Governor Nikki R. Haley, and has revoked local authority to build the broadband networks they need to create new jobs. Last week, we noted some of the coverage about the bill. After reviewing the language of the bill, we are astonished at how far the Governor and the South Carolina Legislature have gone to protect AT&T's monopoly, to the detriment of the many businesses and citizens who desperately need better access to the Internet -- whether to be more productive, competitive, or just take advantage of educational opportunities.
South Carolina is near the bottom of adoption rate in the U.S. and has a higher than average number of residents living below the poverty line. Communities with fast, affordable, and reliable access to the Internet are seeing new jobs. Those stuck on slow DSL are watching jobs wither away.
We continue to be amazed at state legislatures that are prioritizing laws to make it harder to expand broadband rather than easier. The only explanation is the vast amounts of money big companies like AT&T and Time Warner Cable spend in campaign contributions.
This bill is designed to prevent local governments from building next-generation networks, even when the private sector has refused to invest. It may also put an end to projects already in the works (even those that have received BTOP or BIP funding).
Honesty From Heartland: Munis Outgunned in Competition with Private Sector
- Muni networks are doomed to failure because of the general incompetence of government
- Muni networks will drive private sector providers out of the market because governments are too all powerful and have too many advantages in competition
A municipal government cannot possibly hope to compete with well-capitalized broadband providers in a highly competitive market.For those unfamiliar with Heartland, they don't use the same definitions for common words like "competitive" as the rest of us do. In Heartland's world, "competitive" means a market in which one of our funders operates regardless of how much competition exists in it. So why do we need new legislation to make it even harder for communities to build the networks that the cable and DSL companies won't build?
AT&T Trying to Redefine Broadband in Georgia, South Carolina
South Carolina Cable Association Also Wants to Limit Competition
The SCCTA has been actively following the AT&T-backed legislation that would amend the Government-Owned Telecommunications Service Providers Act. House Bill 3508 would impose the same requirements on government-owned broadband operations that are currently imposed on telecommunications operations.Of course, H.3508 goes far beyond applying the "same requirements." It enacts a host of requirements that only apply to public providers, which are already disadvantaged by being much smaller than companies like Time Warner Cable and AT&T. We have long ago debunked the myth of public sector advantages over the private sector. The second quarter newsletter [pdf] identifies this bill as the highest priority of the cable association:
H3508, the AT&T backed legislation, has been our dominate piece of legislation in 2011.
Pay Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain: Listen to AT&T's CEO, not Lobbyists
The other is rural access lines; we have been apprehensive on moving, doing anything on rural access lines because the issue here is, do you have a broadband product for rural America? We’ve all been trying to find a broadband solution that was economically viable to get out to rural America, and we’re not finding one to be quite candid. The best opportunity we have is LTE.Whoa! LTE is what you more commonly hear called 4G in mobile phone commercials. The best they can do is eventually build a wireless network that allows a user to transfer just 2GB/month. That is fine for hand-held devices but it does nothing to encourage economic development or allow residents to take advantage of remote education opportunities. But even the CEO admits they are not bullish on LTE as the solution:
[W]e’re looking at rural America and asking, what’s the broadband solution? We don’t have one right now.Some may be wondering about "U-Verse" -- AT&T's super DSL that competes with cable in the wealthy neighborhoods of bigger cities. U-Verse cannot match the capacity or quality of modern cable networks but is better than older DSL technologies. But U-Verse is not coming to a rural community near you. For those who missed the fanfare last year, AT&T's U-Verse build is done. AT&T's lobbyists have probably forgotten to tell Georgia and South Carolina Legislators that the over 20 million AT&T customers without access to U-Verse are not going to get it.