The city of Chattanooga in Tennessee has been told it cannot expand its broadband service to other counties. The state's legislature has effectively canned a bill that would have allowed Chattanooga's municipal broadband service into neighboring Hamilton and Bradley counties. According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, the …
It is twofold. Part people who are paid off by industry lobbyists, and part "conservatives" who think government has no role in the private sector.
The problem is that the government already has a role in the broadband market, through stuff like making utility right of way available or not available, granting cable companies exclusive franchises which guarantee there is only one cable company in town (to add to the single phone company in town which exists because of what essentially amounts to state/federal franchises)
People who claim to believe in the free market often don't understand that a free market only functions properly where perfect competition exists. That means there are no barriers to entry, erected either by government, limited resources, or economic barriers to entry (like needing a lot of money to start a fiber ISP in a city that size) When the market doesn't function properly there can be no free market - that's how you end up with monopolies that don't offer decent broadband because they don't have to since there is no one else to do so and take away their customers.
FCC granted EPB (the Electric Power Board) the ability to expand their service area last year: https://epb.com/news/fcc-approves-epb%E2%80%99s-petition-tennessee-expansion . EPB have now effectively been blocked the expansion by the state although Washington DC (the Feds of all people!) said it was OK to go ahead.
EPB initially installed fiber for their electric grid Intellirupters to talk to each other, not specifically to become an ISP. That was done later. Federal funds were part of the initial fiber layout due to the "green" aspect of updating the grid (electronic meters reporting back every 15 minutes so no more meter readers driving around, better tracking of electric usage, etc): http://www.sandc.com/products/switching-overhead-distribution/intellirupter-pulsecloser.asp
Initially Comcast didn't have anything against the fiber install...until EPB decided to use the extra network bandwidth to become an ISP in 2009. Comcast then threatened EPB, to which EPB replied "we own the poles your cables are hanging on, so we'll charge you 10 cents per pole per day for the upkeep/replacement when damaged by fire/storm/car wreck/etc (somebody has to pay for a middle-of-the-night crew to dig a hole in the ground with specialized equipment, erect a new pole, string the electric across it, THEN let Comcast/AT&T come along behind them).
Comcast backed down then, but obviously they've found some people they can buy at the state level and block further defections from Comcast around Chattanooga. Comcast has far greater on-demand TV services, but when you can get a gigabit up/down to your home for $69.99/mo, local tech support, paid to a public utility, which would you choose?
It works like this -
The craptastic cable companies give lots of money in "Campaign Funds" to the politicians. The politicians don't vote for items that go against what the cable companies would like to happen.
There's a fancy name for it when they get caught, too. Graft. Because it's impossible to conceive that a law-abiding-god-fearing-public-serving elected official would do anything as shameful as take a bribe....
It's stories like this one, where it's dead plain that the elected officials were bribed, that makes me ashamed to be American. Even more embarrassed to admit that I was born in Tennessee, albeit not in Chattanooga. Thankfully.
Haven't FIFA been operating this self same, or very similar, scheme for a number of years?
And yet it's the USian Governement at the forefront of prosecutions for this conduct which they now call bribery.
Why not just use the athletics model, popular in the NW i believe, where those Veeple who go "lording" it about do so as "Ambassadors".
With no knowledge whatsoever, no siree, of any wrongdoing or malinfluence.
It ain't just Tennessee... pretty much the same sort of thing is happening in Western Massachusetts. I live in one of the 44 towns that are in the "underserved" category and no ISP is willing to invest in the last-mile connection. A lot of work went into organizing the towns into a cooperative called WiredWest and developing a viable plan to set up a regional ISP. After all the towns had approved the deal, the state agency (MBI) that needed to release the portion of the lawmaker-approved state funds, backed out based on a report written by a consultancy they hired. The report said that the towns should "outsource" the management of the ISP. The consultancy that wrote the report....WiPro! (well known to us in the IT industry for outsourcing contracts.)
The full story can be found here:
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