Because broadband in Kansas is just so gosh darn good already
, the Kansas State legislature is considering an industry-lobbied bill called the "Municipal Communications Network and Private Telecommunications Investment Safeguards Act
" (pdf). The Act forbids towns or cities from offering "video, telecommunications or broadband service" anywhere a private ISP already offers service, though the bill is nice enough to exempt existing municipal deployments.
As is usually the case, what the bill does and what it says it does are somewhat far apart. The bill's definition of broadband includes satellite broadband and
cellular service, so that pretty much covers most of the state. The bill's sponsors claim the bill aims to:
...encourage the development and widespread use of technological advances in providing video, telecommunications and broadband services at competitive rates; and ensure that video, telecommunications and broadband services are each provided within a consistent, comprehensive and nondiscriminatory federal, state and local government framework.
Yet Christopher Mitchell over at Community Broadband Networks
says the bill "would create some of the most draconian limits on building networks we have seen in any state." A real innovation engine, indeed. Surely the first step in fixing broadband competition
is killing off proposals and existing laws like this one, which only act to protect uncompetitive monopolies and duopolies from having to work harder, while taking voting rights away from local communities regarding the fates of their own neighborhoods.
The bill comes as AT&T also works to gut all remaining regulatory oversight in the state
so that the telco can back away from areas of the state they don't deem profitable enough.