Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Lawmakers Aim to Protect Public Broadband

Filed under
Sci/Tech

Fourteen U.S. states have passed laws limiting municipal broadband services, with large Internet providers lobbying against city-offered services. Two U.S. senators have jumped into a growing debate about whether cities should be allowed to create tax-funded broadband services, with the two introducing a bill that would prevent states from outlawing municipal broadband projects.

The Community Broadband Act of 2005, introduced last week by Senators John McCain, an Arizona Republican, and Frank Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat, would prevent states from outlawing municipal broadband service while requiring cities to regulate their own broadband services the same as they regulate competitors. For example, a municipal broadband service would have to pay the same franchise fees as other providers.

Several cities, including Philadelphia, have explored offering municipal broadband, typically using Wi-Fi technology, in recent months. Late last year, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell signed legislation preventing further municipal broadband projects, but along with the bill came an agreement between the city of Philadelphia and Verizon Communicatons over a city-run Wi-Fi network.

The Community Broadband Act is needed to meet President George Bush's goal of universally available broadband in the U.S. by 2007, McCain said in a speech last week. McCain noted that the U.S. ranks 16th among nations in broadband penetration.

"This is unacceptable for a country that should lead the world in technical innovation, economic development, and international competitiveness," McCain said. "As a country, we cannot afford to cut off any successful strategy if we want to remain internationally competitive."

The two telecom giants, however, helped fund a study released in February that said municipal Wi-Fi networks could have "grave flaws."

The New Millennium Research Council study suggested municipal broadband services could dedicate tax dollars to rapidly outdated technology. The study also noted that municipal broadband networks could be expensive to maintain. "Municipal Wi-Fi networks present a number of serious problems that are being overlooked as cities rush into committing millions in taxpayer dollars to pay for network development and expansion," the study says.

Late last week, 40 groups representing local governments, the IT industry, and consumers sent a letter to members of Congress asking lawmakers to support pro-municipal broadband legislation. Among the groups signing the letter were the League of California Cities, Public Knowledge, the Rural Broadband Coalition, Consumers Union, and the Fiber to the Home Council.

Full Article.

More in Tux Machines

Raspberry Pi: New NOOBS and Raspbian releases

The Release Notes are available, and don't indicate that there are very large changes in this release, just some nice incremental updates, bug fixes, and general cleanup. There may be some interesting internal changes; we'll have to wait for the official announcement to hear about that. Read more

Tunir 0.13 is released and one year of development

I have started Tunir on Jan 12 2015, means it got more than one year of development history. At the beginning it was just a project to help me out with Fedora Cloud image testing. But it grew to a point where it is being used as the Autocloud backend to test Fedora Cloud, and Vagrant images. We will soon start testing the Fedora AMI(s) too using the same. Within this one year, there were total 7 contributors to the project. In total we are around 1k lines of Python code. I am personally using Tunir for various other projects too. One funny thing from the code commits timings, no commit on Sundays :) Read more

Andy Rubin Unleashed Android on the World. Now Watch Him Do the Same With AI

Now that Rubin had shepherded smartphones from concept to phenomenon, they no longer held much interest. As an engineering problem, they had been solved. Sure, entrepreneurs kept launching new apps, but for someone who considered engineering an art, that was like adding a few brushstrokes atop layers of dried paint. Rubin wanted to touch canvas again—and he could see a fresh one unfurling in front of him. Read more

Building a culture of more pluggable open source

If there is one word that often percolates conversations hailing the benefits of open source, it is choice. We often celebrate many of the 800+ Linux distributions, the countless desktops, applications, frameworks, and more. Choice, it would seem, is a good thing. Interestingly, choice is also an emotive thing. Read more