Congress is just all up in the FCC’s business lately, it seems. Earlier this week, lawmakers in both houses proposed their own version of net neutrality, one that would also strip the FCC of its own authority to regulate broadband in the future. Today, there’s a bill looking to jump into one of the FCC’s other big issues right now: state laws that prohibit communities from developing municipal broadband.
Tired of your broadband internet service options? Join the club. Millions of us live in areas where there is little to no competition among broadband ISPs. You take the provider you’ve got and put up with it, no matter how slow and unresponsive that service might be. Locally owned public broadband–managed by the city or county–could shake up the scene fairly dramatically, but good luck getting it. Despite grand plans from cities like Los Angeles and Seattle, public broadband options are few and far between.
Remember that legislation in Georgia that would have forbidden municipalities from building public broadband networks if just a single person in a census block already had access to a so-so DSL connection? The lawmakers have voted — and said thank but no thanks.
A number of municipalities around the country, especially in rural areas, are considering public broadband networks as a way to spur development and enterprise. Yet legislators keep drafting laws intended to keep some citizens in the stone age — at least until the telecoms get around to building private networks. [More]