February 20, 2005

ACT NOW: Write State Legislators

March 7 update: This action alert has been superceded. Please see the revised posting.

Now is the time to tell our Texas state representatives that we want the anti-wireless provisions removed from HB 789. We especially need to send this message to the representatives on the House Committee for Regulated Industries. They are holding a public hearing on the the bill this Tuesday, which will determine whether the anti-wireless provisions remain.

The representatives on this committee are:

State Representative Fax District Counties Represented
Rep. Phil King (chair) 512-463-1957 61 Parker, Wise
Rep. Robert "Bob" Hunter (vice chair) 512-463-6244 71 Nolan, Taylor
Rep. Sylvester Turner 512-463-8380 139 Harris (central)
Rep. Todd Baxter 512-236-1065 48 Travis (northwest)
Rep. Robby Cook 512-463-9955 (*) 17 Bastrop, Brazos (part), Burleson, Colorado, Fayette, Lee
Rep. Joe Crabb 512-463-5896 127 Harris (east)
Rep. Will Hartnett 512-463-7827 114 Dallas (part)

(* - The marked number currrently is listed wrong on the House of Representatives web site. The number in the table has been verfied as correct.)

If you live in any of these districts, it is critically important that you write to your representative this week. Please click the name to see contact information. For other districts, please visit this page to determine your representative.

When writing to your representative, please be sure to do the following:

  • Let them know you live in their district.
  • State that you oppose the ban on community internet (sec. 54.202) in HB 789.
  • Tell them how you believe the ban would adversely affect your community.
  • If your community has a public internet project that would be harmed by HB 789, let them know.
  • If your community has no broadband access (or gained access only after a community network was deployed), let them know.
  • We recommend sending your message by fax or postal mail, in preference to email.

We have prepared some sample letters. Your own words will be most effective, but these will give you some ideas about what you might say. Also, please see our fact sheet for more information on how HB 789 will harm Texas.

This first letter would be helpful if your community already has a public access project:

Dear Representative (name),

I live in (my town... Houston, Belton, Corpus Christi). I'm writing to oppose the ban on community internet in HB 789 (section 54.202).

In (my town) we have a public wireless network. This network provides (public safety, economic development, tourism, access to underserved communities). In the future, we are planning to expand the network, to increase (geographic coverage, the number of people served, provide broadband access). If the community internet ban remains in HB 789, our network will be harmed.

Like roads and streetlights, community internet is a public service that benefits the (city/town/county). Cities, towns and counties have the right to manage our public services so they benefit the community. The community internet ban in HB 789 will interfere with this right.

I urge you to remove the ban on community internet from HB 789, to protect the public network in (my town).

Signed ...

This second letter signifies more general support:

Dear Representative (name),

I live in (my town... Houston, Belton, Corpus Christi). I'm writing to oppose the ban on community internet in HB 789 (section 54.202).

Like roads and streetlights, community internet is a public service that provides broad benefits. Community internet services promote economic development, improve public safety, create jobs, and support education and tourism.

There are many areas in Texas that don't have network service. Community networks are the only choice to provide access to these underserved areas.

It doesn't make sense to require all county roads to be privately owned toll roads, and it doesn't make sense for the state to impose such a mandate on our digital highways. The ban on community internet serves the narrow interest of the telephone companies, and harms civic life and economic development in Texas. I urge you to remove this provision from the bill.

Signed ...

Please send us a copy of your letter, so we can track who has been contacted. You can send copies either by email to info@savemuniwireless.org or by fax to 815-301-8302. If you receive a response, please let us know what they said.

Posted by chip at February 20, 2005 09:48 PM

I am opposing the ban on wireless. if a community wants it let them have it. Its a good way to PROMOTE business not remove it. those that would support such stupidity think about it. you can't use wireless with out the server and without the laptops and portables. These are key indexes in any economy. More access NOT LESS!

I live in an area that does not yet enjoy this very useful access. Actually, since I have been notified of this action I am going to request it to be installed in my municipality.

Posted by: at February 21, 2005 05:08 AM

We don't need Bpl. in Houston Texas Im a Amateur Radio op. here. Im a Skywarn Spotter on HF/vhf /uhf, This Will stop communications in an emergency,bcause of harmful interference not to me, but to the pubic interest Also. My call is KA5MEI South west ARES Member.

Posted by: at February 22, 2005 09:46 PM

I understand this is a different issue than "BPL" - Broadband over Power Lines. BPL interferes with amateur radio communication on the "HF" bands. This proposal is about whether cities would be allowed to continue to offer free wireless internet in libraries & other public facilities, that does not interfere with the amateur bands. For the BPL issue, see: http://www.arrl.org/ and select "BPL" next to "What's new." - Tom Blackwell, N5GAR. http://www.n5gar.info/

Posted by: Tom Blackwell at February 23, 2005 04:32 AM