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Pennsylvania Plays Stimulus Keep Away
Getting free marketeers to push new anti-muni bill...
by Karl Bode 09:18AM Monday Mar 09 2009
For years, incumbent phone and cable companies were lobbying state lawmakers to pass laws banning towns and cities from wiring themselves with broadband, even in cases where incumbents wouldn't wire them because they weren't deemed profitable. The goal for the nation's largest carriers was to have their cake and eat it too: they wouldn't have to take on the high ROI of deploying into under-served areas, but they wouldn't have to worry about competing with local projects if they someday decided they wanted to. Local citizen voting rights were irrelevant.

While we covered these efforts extensively, they weren't really noticed on a national stage until Philadelphia's citywide Wi-Fi project bumped into Pennsylvania's law, a very public fight Verizon insisted changed the way they did things. Years earlier, carriers had managed to convince the state that no town or city should be allowed to deploy broadband without first getting Verizon's ok. The law was actually generous in a sense -- a dozen other States have passed similar laws that banned any community broadband project outright -- for the people, of course.

Efforts on this front have slowed down, largely thanks to increased media coverage of broadband coverage gaps. However, incumbents are back again in Pennsylvania, with a new law that would more comprehensively ban community broadband. According to Hardold Feld, the push is popping up now because regional incumbents don't want new stimulus money going to municipal competitors -- something the bill would ban. Feld chimes in:
quote:
All I can say is that I'm glad I don't live in Pennsylvania, if this is an example of the work of its state legislature. I mean, I could at least understand this sort of unadulterated Ubermarket cheerleading in the past. But finding a bunch of state legislators willing to sponsor a bill that tries to stop government from doing anything other than purposes approved by the ghost of Ayn Rand these days feels like running into some lost forgotten tribe trying to ensure bountiful harvests by human sacrifice.
There's more on the bill over at Muni-Wireless and the blog of Craig Settles.

The bill's primary sponsor is State Senator Patrick Brown, though these bills are almost always largely co-written by the dominant incumbents in each state (in this case, Verizon and Comcast). Verizon insists to us they have nothing to do with this bill. "The bill sponsor, State Senator Pat Browne, has introduced this legislation for the past three sessions," says Verizon spokesman Harry Mitchell. "Verizon has never stood in the way of a municipality that sought to provide broadband services in Pennsylvania – nor will we," claims Mitchell.

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forget it

@qwest.net

Ban them

Wasnt it Verizon that robbed Pennsylvania for Billions of dollars a few years ago.
Maybe they should pass a law banning Verizon from the state.

Chris 313
Come get some
Premium
join:2004-07-18
Houma, LA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·Vonage
·Comcast
·Comcast Digital ..

Re: Ban them

said by forget it :

Wasnt it Verizon that robbed Pennsylvania for Billions of dollars a few years ago.
Maybe they should pass a law banning Verizon from the state.
And then people would complain about Comcast having a complete monopoly. (Isn't Comcast HQ'd in PA?) You can't win.

It'd be really anticompetitive then.

I wonder what competitive groups will have to say about this and how loud it'll be?

cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7

1 recommendation

Re: Ban them

said by Chris 313:

Isn't Comcast HQ'd in PA?
Yes. Philly.

cypherstream
Premium,MVM
join:2004-12-02
Reading, PA
kudos:3

Re: Ban them

And it contains some of Comcast's shittiest performing systems. Ok Harrisburg West Shore is an exception. But Comcast in PA doesn't touch most markets, especially some of the blessed New England states with 70ish HD channels, Tivo Software and more.

PA Sucks. Who wouldn't want broadband competition to lower prices? You can't even tint the front windows of your car in PA. WTF is that? I'm only here because our job's here.
me1212

join:2008-11-20
Pleasant Hill, MO
+1. I agree if a city wants to make their broadband, because the ISP don't care about them let them. Does any1 know where to fins if my state has such a law?

DaveDude
No Fear

join:1999-09-01
New Jersey
kudos:1
When people dont learn from history, it repeats... Verizon 2, Penn Taxpayers 0 ..

FastiBook

join:2003-01-08
Newtown, PA
No, then i'd have no internet or phone.

Just give us a year free for all residents, one year's worth of refund to former residents.

- A
--
LETS GO METS!

Somnambul33t
L33t.
Premium
join:2002-12-05
Blackwood, NJ

i dunno...

Not sure i like Verizon taking this route, but i'd rather not have my tax dollars going to municipal wireless broadband. it always sucks, costs twice as much as budgeted, and causes political headaches for years.

If verizon wanted to do their own wireless system in some cities, it'd be a lot better. i like comcast's wireless beta system wireless on the high speed lines in NJ. if Verizon or comcast could buy the earthlink wireless in philly and make it profitable, i'm all for it. right now, tho, the city-owned system now is horrible and goes to show how poorly most government-run wireless programs are.

not sure we need a bill to BAN these systems...it should be left up to the local residents to vote for these things if they're going in their towns, but overall i'd rather not have them in the end anyway.
--
Somnambulator - t3h 5133pw41k3r


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pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Give Verizon a Medal

Just about every single municipally-run Internet racket has been a financial black hole for taxpayers. Verizon should be lauded and thanked for protecting the taxpayers of Penna. from yet another government money grab.
--
Blagojevich / Madoff 2012!

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2

Re: Give Verizon a Medal

So why pass a law banning it from the entire state? Maybe the taxpayers should decide on a municipality by municipality basis.

pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Re: Give Verizon a Medal

said by fifty nine:

So why pass a law banning it from the entire state? Maybe the taxpayers should decide on a municipality by municipality basis.
That's a nice idea, except that elections are not allowed to exclude people who do not pay taxes.

But as always, local governments have plenty of responsibilities to deal with. They should focus on doing the things that they need to do and do them well. Wireless internet is not one of them.
--
Blagojevich / Madoff 2012!
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO

Re: Give Verizon a Medal

If a majority of the people want it, then you and the local monopolies should shut up and move out of the way of it getting done.

Government is there to serve the people. If the people ask for it's government to build them a network through a vote, then it is the governments responsibility to build them that network. If the minority don't like it, too bad. There is a minority in every vote that isn't happy. That is just the way it is and the reason you take it to a vote to begin with.

Verizon doesn't like it? Then pack up your stuff and get out of the town/state.

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2

1 edit
said by pnh102:

That's a nice idea, except that elections are not allowed to exclude people who do not pay taxes.
As it should be. Do you know that the 24th amendment to the US constitution forbids a poll tax? This means that you can't exclude non-taxpayers, and for good reason. All citizens should be allowed to vote, period.

rf_engineer

join:2003-08-04
USA

Re: Give Verizon a Medal

said by fifty nine:

said by pnh102:

That's a nice idea, except that elections are not allowed to exclude people who do not pay taxes.
As it should be. Do you know that the 24th amendment to the US constitution forbids a poll tax? This means that you can't exclude non-taxpayers, and for good reason. All citizens should be allowed to vote, period.
In general I agree with you, however in this case guys living in their mom's basement wanting fast cheap Internet shouldn't have say in this....

kyler13
Is your fiber grounded?

join:2006-12-12
Arnold, MD

1 recommendation

said by pnh102:

said by fifty nine:

So why pass a law banning it from the entire state? Maybe the taxpayers should decide on a municipality by municipality basis.
That's a nice idea, except that elections are not allowed to exclude people who do not pay taxes.

But as always, local governments have plenty of responsibilities to deal with. They should focus on doing the things that they need to do and do them well. Wireless internet is not one of them.
You're missing the point altogether. A private corporation intersted in nothing more than making money does not need to be empowered to make decisions for the people.

jhboricua
ExMod 2000-01
join:2000-06-06
Minneapolis, MN

1 edit

1 recommendation

said by pnh102:

But as always, local governments have plenty of responsibilities to deal with. They should focus on doing the things that they need to do and do them well. Wireless internet is not one of them.
Even if the local government in PA were to have a private entity build and operate the network, it would be prohibited by the proposed SB530 as currently worded.

Verizon is simply legislating their way to profits by blocking any chance of competition on PA before it happens, specially now that the stimulus bill would make it easier to build a competing network.

And this is another example why your continuous posts on other threads along the lines of 'if they want to compete, let them build their own networks' come as hypocritical, and rightfully so.

There is no level playing field.
--
"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe." - Albert Einstein
Jose A. Hernandez * System Admin * MPLS, Minnesota, USA *

SLD
Premium
join:2002-04-17
San Francisco, CA
Funny, election exclude corporations from voting and yet they still ultimately decide who the choices are, or even who gets elected.

jhboricua
ExMod 2000-01
join:2000-06-06
Minneapolis, MN
said by pnh102:

Verizon should be lauded and thanked for protecting the taxpayers of Penna. from yet another government money grab.
Right on!! Verizon needs to fight for exclusive rights to continue raping the taxpayers of PA.
--
"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe." - Albert Einstein
Jose A. Hernandez * System Admin * MPLS, Minnesota, USA *

kontos
xyzzy

join:2001-10-04
West Henrietta, NY

Um, High ROI is good for businesses

ROI = Return on Investment. High ROI is what companies want to see.

DaveDude
No Fear

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New Jersey
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Re: Um, High ROI is good for businesses

said by kontos:

ROI = Return on Investment. High ROI is what companies want to see.
Then maybe they shouldn't receive any government handouts then.
beaups

join:2003-08-11
Hilliard, OH

Re: Um, High ROI is good for businesses

This term gets used also as "rate of investment". In my business the acronym indicates a bad thing, even though you should be correct.
trackdrew

join:2008-08-28
Columbia, MD

feel free...

...to visit the sponsoring senator's "Contact Me" page and give him a piece of you mind.

»www.senatorbrowne.com/contact.htm

FastiBook

join:2003-01-08
Newtown, PA

As someone who actually lives in pa........

I do have to say that our taxes are wasted on a lot of things, while our infrastructure, rail and roads waste away. How about using that wireless $ to improve and expand passenger rail service getting more cars off the road, letting them last longer, in turn costing less to keep them in good shape.

How about stop letting logging companies log in state and national forests here in PA. Forests are not commodities.

How about getting protective vests for local officers on highway duty?

How about buying up open land to preserve it before toll brothers etc build a house on every last acre?

How about restoring historic areas, buildings etc. Everyone i meet in this area is clueless about its history aside from "oh the constitution". George washington himself slept in my town days before crossing the nearby river into trenton. He had it easy, we have to deal with maniacal speeders and people on cell phones with hot cups of money i mean coffee in their hands.

- A
--
LETS GO METS!