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The FCC Says Your City Can Build a Public Internet, Even If Your State Says No

The Federal Communications Commission is going to allow two cities to ignore state laws that ban them from building community-owned broadband networks, according to chairman Tom Wheeler.

It's big news for Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Wilson, North Carolina, and it's a signal to other cities in the 21 states that have laws restricting municipal broadband that they can start considering their own networks without worrying about their state laws.

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SilentNegotiator2182d ago (Edited 2182d ago )

Just sounds like a massive security risk to me. And a massive, unnecessary tax expense.

Stringerbell2182d ago

This is the way you break ISP monopolies. Very few ie no one has the money to start their own ISP- put it this way during the days of dial up I had a mom and pop provider what happened to them? They were bought out by Time Warner as they all were in the late 90's.

Municipalities own the grid, allow anyone wanting to start an ISP to tap into for a price just like paying rent. Give consumers for the first time in a long time some real choices for their internet. Its the only way these big boys will come down from their 'great' prices of $99 a month for 'super fast' internet with 'blazing' speeds.'

Besides your tax dollars are already being wasted with all the subsidies these ISP's are given by municipalities to placate them in their extortion of 'giving' us internet service. A public network gives them the middle finger, ending the subsidies and kickbacks in favour of real competition.

SilentNegotiator2182d ago

We would be better off with tighter (federal) laws on ISPs than by trying to "compete" city by city against them. They can throw a fit, but if we have tight enough laws, they won't have much say (and they're not going to want to just STOP making money, so they're not going to stop providing service and expanding).

Stringerbell2182d ago

This doesent solve the problem of the natural monopoly not in the slightest. Though I agree tighter regulations could work there would still be no conceivable way for others to enter the fray. Other than a public grid or Scrooge McDuck money Americans will be stuck with two options three if Google comes to town.

Godmars2902182d ago

Then it sounds like Providers will have to emphasize that while competing with whatever prices are involved.

SilentNegotiator2182d ago (Edited 2182d ago )

Once you put something on the tax books, though, there's almost no getting rid of it. It will be an expense and burden on tax payers forever.

ISPs will never be able to create an environment that will make populists give up a "free" government benefit. Democrats* will roll out the poor family (most likely a minority for the white guilt) and start airing a bunch of sob story commercials about how getting to the local library is too hard (in a city densely populated enough to even think about public internet...right) and how dare a politician try to take away their "right" to free internet.

*And before you call me a republican for calling out democrats, I'm not. I'm not strictly left or right in my politics. Most people on the internet don't seem to get that you can criticize one party at a time without being one or the other, so I'm just saying in case. I am advocating more regulation laws in my second comment and mocking populist democrats guilt and defense of any government provided item in this one, so I mean, that doesn't exactly sound like some person that's lockstep liberal/conservative, right? lol

360ICE2182d ago (Edited 2182d ago )

If a city provides free Internet, then the ISPs will be forced to provide considerably better service for a reasonable price. A public option is monopoly-breaking 101.

I mean, if we were really serious about exposing Comcast and Time Warner to competition we could use antitrust law to break them up like in the good ol' Sherman Oil days, but since Congress is in the pockets of these people, I don't see that ever happening.

This is a very good idea. This, along with Title II and renewed broadband definitions could finally get ISPs to act a little less like mafia families.

SilentNegotiator2182d ago (Edited 2182d ago )

If we're talking about optional government plans, THAT might work. So long as it actually MADE money and wasn't heavily subsidized.

But "free" internet isn't going to "compete" with internet companies, it will nearly run them out of town and turn a nonessential to daily life thing (not for everyone) into a tax burden.

Instead of socializing things every time corporations do something naughty, why don't we change the laws so that they CAN'T do said things?

dcbronco2182d ago

Silent the problem is the government has stated for years that broadband is a necessity. It becomes more so every day. For education and work. As technology moves forward people will need better broadband. We know the current providers aren't willing to keep up. Plus they are on the verge of becoming strictly ISPs anyway. That will mean more gouging and less providing.

We've had years of their regional monopolies and look at what it has given us. It's shameful. As networks go to streaming services ISPs will start to charge more. If local governments are willing to foot the bill for the fiber and then sell it at cost to small regional ISPs the consumer will pay far less for than they will if the system remains as it is.

Americans pay far more for much less than most of the industrialized world. It's time for the monopolies to die. In DC you can get 150mbs for well under $100 because you have Verizon, Comcast and a local ISP all offering similar service. You get cable, phone and 75/25 internet for $99 for the first two years plus a $400 Visa check card and free HBO. And that is the HD package.

BranWheatKillah2182d ago

It just sound like you don't know the importance of a good internet connection for everyone.

360ICE2182d ago

First of all, we are talking about government plans. Cities can run a profit-driven, non-profit or funded service as they choose, but the point is to introduce some sort of competition to the marketplace.

A free low-speed service might not be satisfactory for Netflix-watchers and heavy Internet users, but it will put some pressure on ISPs to improve their service, and likely not too expensive to develope.

South Korea has the fastest Internet in the world. Partly because of population density, but also because of massively funded government broadband-building programs. Smart investments will often pay themselves in the long run.

And while we're having ISPs compete with public options, let's do the same for health care.

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