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Austin, TX
reply to MyDogHsFleas

Re: Maybe a link to the actual bill so people could read it?

Well, slap me silly. The actual bill (now that I found it and took the time to read it) is absolutely nothing like it's characterized here.

To summarize the bill: (let's use the term MuSP for Municipal-Owned Service Provider, to save typing)

- MuSPs must follow all communications regulations like ISPs.
- MuSPs must have separate books, follow accounting principles, and publish an audited annual report.
- MuSPs must serve the municipality, not grow extra territorially.
- MuSPs must provide access to their infrastructure for ISPs at the same terms and rates that they give their customers.
- MuSPs must buy their own advertising, and not piggyback on government communications channels.
- MuSPs cannot be subsidized by other government fund sources.
- MuSPs cannot price their offerings below the cost of providing the service.
- MuSPs must pay back to the city/state an amount equivalent to what an ISP would pay in taxes/fees for an equivalent service.
- MuSPs must hold public hearings before starting up a new service.
- MuSPs must hold a special election before issuing debt bonds.
- A Municipality must hold an open RFP process to allow private bidders to compete for the MuSP business.
- None of this applies to internal municipality networks, MuSPs only fall under this bill if they offer consumer services.
- None of this applies to MuSPs that are serving "unserved areas", which means more than half the households have no broadband service (and satellite doesn't count).

So, basically, the bill says that if a municipality wants to start their own MuSP, they have to do it on a level playing field basis with private services, be open and transparent with their accounting and funding, not subsidize it, pay the same taxes/fees that private industry would, and be open to accepting bids for the service from private industry, rather than just doing it themselves. Oh and by the way this only applies if the MuSP is essentially overbuilding in an area already served by private services -- not if it's some rural underserved area.

How is this "banning or crippling community fiber projects"? All it says is that they have to do it openly and fairly.