February 25, 2005
Public Hearing Wrap-Up
Yesterday, the House Committee on Regulated Industries closed its public hearing on HB 789. The hearing ran for three days, with numerous witnesses testifying for and against various provisions of the bill. Many people testified in favor municipal networks, describing benefits for big cities and small rural towns. Nobody, on the other hand, testified to ban them. The hearing closed without recording any testimony to support outlawing municipal networks.
We've made great progress this week. Our efforts garnered a lot of attention and our arguments are being noticed. The committee identified a number of problems with the bill, including the sheer extent of development that would be impractical to roll back.
That doesn't mean the muni network opponents are gone, because they aren't. With the close of hearings, our mission has changed. We no longer have to establish the beneficence of municipal networks. That point has been made and acknowledged.
Now, we have a new and bigger challenge. We need to explain that carving out small exceptions to the ban won't solve the problem. We have to explain that where the broadband market is robust, municipalities don't want to compete with incumbent phone companies. We have to show that the best thing for Texas businesses and citizens is to strike the municipal network ban from HB 789.
Have a great weekend. We'll be back shortly with information on how you can help us take on this new challenge.Posted by chip at February 25, 2005 08:49 PM