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A Big Bell Wishlist
New bill would restrict munis, eliminates franchise agreements
by Karl Bode 01:34PM Wednesday Jul 27 2005
One lawmaker has an answer to whether the bells should sign local (town, city) or state level franchise agreements for video-via-broadband: Pass a law that allows them to do neither. Republican Senator John Ensign has proposed a bill that would allow phone companies to offer video services over their next-gen broadband networks without seeking franchise agreements of any kind. But it doesn't stop there: it also bans community broadband unless incumbents have refused to serve an area (which no incumbent would do outright).

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b10010011
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join:2004-09-07
Bellingham, WA
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Why do Republicans hate freedom so much?

Now they want to pass a law the removes our freedom to start a community based ISP be it wireless or fiber.

Why do the Republicans think government should run every littel aspect of our lives?

What ever happened to the Republican party being the party of LESS GOVERNMENT control?

FFH
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Tavistock NJ
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Re: Why do Republicans hate freedom so much?

said by b10010011:

Why do the Republicans think government should run every littel aspect of our lives?

What ever happened to the Republican party being the party of LESS GOVERNMENT control?
Do you think this is just a Republican trait? There are plenty of Democrats that would and have introduced similar legislation. The Dems are just as much for sale to the highest bidder as any Republican.
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HoldOnAMinute

@207.246.x.x

Re: Why do Republicans hate freedom so much?

Do you think this is just a Republican trait? There are plenty of Democrats that would and have introduced similar legislation. The Dems are just as much for sale to the highest bidder as any Republican.

That may be true, but the Republican mantra for years was (and still is) "We're the party of smaller government and we'll stay out of your lives. WE won't tolerate this 'Liberal' crap". Now they're in control and they're doing the same stupid things they bashed Dems for doing so many years. Delighfully hypocritical.

Parogadi
What? Stop Looking At Me Like That
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join:2003-03-31
Racine, WI

Re: Why do Republicans hate freedom so much?

If you're all gonna have a debate then have it somewheres else, »heatedebates.com/ is my buds forum, duke it out there if you like.

charlie hp

@covad.net

Re: Why do Republicans hate freedom so much?

Meh. There are simple solutions. I dont know that congress should be outlawing muni broadband, despite that i am incredibly opposed to it. I believe more in the constitution, which would reserve that power to the states, than in getting what i know is best for america.

Anyway, I think that there are some "infrastructure" elements that are absolutely essential to economic development, and because of the boundaries of the physical realm that we live in, require government force to build. Roads, for instance, might require the use of eminent domain, and despite being libertarian, i know that roads have to be built. Same for power and water grids. Now another has emerged- the network. I wouldnt really mind if the government created a fiber network for the city (preferably using a private company to fund build it, and a private company that would have well-aligned profit motives to maintain it). But then that company shouldnt be an ISP, VoIP provider, IPTV provider, or anything- it should just be the network, and it should be forced to be impartial to all companies that might want to be service providers for the network. I think that the same could be done for power grids. The government would wire the town, but then competing companies could run attached power plants and compete on price.
jp10558
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join:2005-06-24
Willseyville, NY

Re: Why do Republicans hate freedom so much?

said by charlie hp:

But then that company shouldnt be an ISP, VoIP provider, IPTV provider, or anything- it should just be the network, and it should be forced to be impartial to all companies that might want to be service providers for the network. I think that the same could be done for power grids. The government would wire the town, but then competing companies could run attached power plants and compete on price.
Isn't the idea of an ISP to be "just a network" - or more specifically, just a connection to the internet? That's the difference between say Fronteirnet and AOL.

Maybe I'm confused, but all an ISP *has* to do to fufill it's name is give you an IP on the net - which is pretty much necessary to have any sort of network beyond the physical layer.
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LinuxJunkie

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Just a reminder that it was all the "conservative" Supreme Court judges that voted against the privatization of eminent domain just a few weeks ago with all the "liberal" judges voting for it. Way more serious problem than franchise agreements in my opinion.

broadbander8
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join:2005-07-21
Brooklyn, NY

Re: Why do Republicans hate freedom so much?

Actually, that depends. I think this law is just as serious. The eminent domain decision, as horridly anti-American it is (if America represents anything it historically has been "individual right to privacy and land" ), could feasibly be good for business and "progress." Afterall, need a new commercial district? Goodbye cheap housing that nets a loss! Tired of that lousy do-good grassroots newspaper? Goodbye! Hello parking lot. Want a tire plant? See ya church!

Now, as idiotic as I think that is, its true. Meanwhile, banning muni broadband is just ridiculous. What good can come of it? It just outlaws a competitor to the telcos, the city. If the city can manage to afford its own network setup (then lease to private companies for service, I would hope) than why should it not? It doesn't slow business. If the telco will provide the service than it is not a problem, the muni won't be setup. This is simply a means for the giants to hold onto the infrastructure and built out as slowly as possible to maximize profit margins over as many years as possible, kind of similar to well, the energy industry. Keep them spoon food, don't advance the technology too fast, milk the old as long as possible, only fix when utterly profitable.

That's not even tackling the franchise issue, which essentially takes money directly out of the hands cities and allows telcos to cherry pick their service areas entirely. Imagine if only the wealthy half of a city got to have phone service.

SRFireside

join:2001-01-19
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Just goes to show political corruption is political corruption. No matter what side of the fence they came from.
b10010011
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2 edits
said by FFH:

Do you think this is just a Republican trait? There are plenty of Democrats that would and have introduced similar legislation. The Dems are just as much for sale to the highest bidder as any Republican.
Maybe so but the Dems don't run around saying they are the party of small government and freedom.

Oh, thats right when the GOP's say they are for less government control and more freedom they mean for business not for people.

ss4vegito7

join:2004-07-24
Cranbury, NJ
Umm... aren't most community networks run by the government? So they are taking away control..
b10010011
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Re: Why do Republicans hate freedom so much?

said by ss4vegito7:

Umm... aren't most community networks run by the government? So they are taking away control..
Sure but if we the people want government run broadband, shoulden't we be allowed to have it?

That's far less government control then the government saying "No you can not even think about it, nor put it up to a vote because big business already supplies the service at a price you can not afford".

FFH
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3 edits

Bought & paid for pols try to override local laws

Bought & paid for pols try to override local laws to feather their campaign war chests. And this is just one more instance where no change in the law is needed. The telcos already have many advantages as barely regulated monopolies. These types of proposals are merely attempts at squashing real competition in order to help big business maintain power.

But until the electorate wises up and throws out of office every single pol of either party that proposes or votes for bills like this, then nothing will change. Democracy by checkbook - and the biggest checkbook wins.

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KoolMoe
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Re: Bought & paid for pols try to override local l

said by FFH:

But until the electorate wises up and throws out of office every single pol of either party that proposes or votes for bills like this, then nothing will change. Democracy by checkbook - and the biggest checkbook wins.
Absolutely agree. The problem is all any party has to do is latch on to one 'fear' campaign to negate anything else they've done before.
JoePublic says, "Well, I don't like the X Party for reason 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 - but they if I don't vote for them, our country will be attacked again! (or "they'll take away my social security!") So better for for X Party."

The problems of an over-informed electorate? I dunno, but it's simply NOT easy to 'just throw the bums' out. Perhaps it is truly time for Congressional term limits?
KM

Jim Gurd
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Livonia, MI

Re: Bought & paid for pols try to override local laws

said by FFH:

And this is just one more instance where no change in the law is needed. The telcos already have many advantages as barely regulated monopolies.
I disagree with this. Allowing one single franchise agreement per state is a good idea that will keep costs down.

Just look at the taxi cab industry. They are required to get a license for each community in a state where they pick up passengers. That's just asinine and part of the reason cabs cost so much to ride.

If cab drivers could get a single permit that is valid statewide it would lower costs that get passed onto the end users. The same is true with broadband providers. This would also lower the bar for entry by competitors. The free market works when given a chance.

LoneGreyWolf
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Re: Bought & paid for pols try to override local l

"Allowing one single franchise agreement per state is a good idea that will keep costs down."

Do you also agree with the keeping Muni Broadband from happening? I disagree with your statement entirely. If there is only one franchise say for broadband, then I will never see broadband deployment ever where I live. I think there needs to be as many comapanies as possible with some of them promising to deploy to rural areas, that way maybe someone just might do it.

Jim Gurd
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Re: Bought & paid for pols try to override local l

said by LoneGreyWolf:

Do you also agree with the keeping Muni Broadband from happening? I disagree with your statement entirely. If there is only one franchise say for broadband, then I will never see broadband deployment ever where I live. I think there needs to be as many comapanies as possible with some of them promising to deploy to rural areas, that way maybe someone just might do it.
I never said one way or the other about muni broadband. If a local community wants to do it they should set it up to not use tax dollars to subsidize it. I don't think there needs to be a blanket ban though.

Regarding a single franchise, you are misunderstanding me. I meant that each company (Comcast, SBC, Covad, or whoever) should only have to apply for one franchise agreement which would cover the entire state and not have to apply in each community in which they do business. This would allow smaller competitors a chance to get into the business without a huge amount of paperwork and compliance costs at the local level. I never said that there should be only one broadband provider per state.

LoneGreyWolf
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Re: Bought & paid for pols try to override local l

said by Jim Gurd:

said by LoneGreyWolf:

Do you also agree with the keeping Muni Broadband from happening? I disagree with your statement entirely. If there is only one franchise say for broadband, then I will never see broadband deployment ever where I live. I think there needs to be as many comapanies as possible with some of them promising to deploy to rural areas, that way maybe someone just might do it.
I never said one way or the other about muni broadband. If a local community wants to do it they should set it up to not use tax dollars to subsidize it. I don't think there needs to be a blanket ban though.

Regarding a single franchise, you are misunderstanding me. I meant that each company (Comcast, SBC, Covad, or whoever) should only have to apply for one franchise agreement which would cover the entire state and not have to apply in each community in which they do business. This would allow smaller competitors a chance to get into the business without a huge amount of paperwork and compliance costs at the local level. I never said that there should be only one broadband provider per state.
Yes, I did misunderstand you. My apologies!

broadbander8
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Brooklyn, NY

Re: Bought & paid for pols try to override local laws

I assume, then, that you wouldn't mind citizens in each city footing the bill for the lost local tax revenue that those agreements once provided.

broadbander8
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join:2005-07-21
Brooklyn, NY
You're also assuming demand defines price entirely. Which it doesn't. What would make a company charge less than it has to in order to continue to compete? If people have been paying $45 for cable for ten years, why would a company who suddenly does not a license charge any less? Right, right, competition! Unless, as is sometimes the case when it comes to utilities, those corporations collude to not compete so as to maximize profits (i.e. Western power crisis).

Taxi cabs are a very different business. Starting a taxi cab company requires a lot less start up money than starting a telco. To start a telco company and in order to survive even initial competition, you've got to be fairly well financed. Even you get off the ground, these companies have a twenty year head start and can take a loss, or simply less profit, to drive you under before you can become a serious threat or get into the black.

ropeguru
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REVOLT!!

I think it is time for us to revolt against our greedy, money hungry, big business politicians!!
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hayabusa3303
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Re: REVOLT!!

Why not at it revolt against the telco's they are just as money hungry as the politicians are.

ropeguru
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join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA

Re: REVOLT!!

But it is the politicians that are allowing the telco's to basically regulate themselves.

But I would not be against revolting against the telco's either...
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fatmanskinny
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join:2004-01-04
Wandering

New breed of Republicans....

Screwing everyone including other Republicans.
orangelemon

join:2003-01-29
Woodinville, WA

Republicans

You guys voted for 'em.

If they were in office in Canada, they'd be kicked out pretty fast. We don't enjoy big business making our laws.

FFH
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Re: Republicans

said by orangelemon:

You guys voted for 'em.

If they were in office in Canada, they'd be kicked out pretty fast. We don't enjoy big business making our laws.
LOL. Big business owns the Liberal party in Canada and the brainless voters keep reelecting them year after year. Just check the record of deals and subsidies to companies like Bombardier and the crown corporations that are virtual monopolies.
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orangelemon

join:2003-01-29
Woodinville, WA

Re: Republicans

Right...

Give me an example of a recent law that was passed due to lobbying from big business.

Handing out subsidies is in a completely different category than changing laws.
jimbo2150

join:2004-05-10
Euclid, OH

Add

Add the following lines to the bill in the section partaining to the restriction of munis:

Only valid if incumband providers provide equal service within a short period of time.

In other words it would protect communities without broadband should the incumbants fail to provide service within a period of time. It would protect from all the incumbands claiming they will provide service without ever doing so. May also want to add a statement to protect them from incessently trying to stop munis from passing vote.
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