February 28, 2005
Broadband for All
Provisions in Texas House Bill 789 could turn our state into a broadband backwater. Communities across Texas have launched innovative projects to ensure that their companies and citizens have access to high-speed Internet. HB 789 would make that illegal.
The phone companies say this will prevent "unfair competition" by local government. Yet, the only towns that want to set up their own broadband, such as Linden and Gun Barrel City, are so small that no phone company offers broadband there.
Austin has been experimenting with free wireless in parks and municipal buildings. Future broadband initiatives could stimulate economic development and help bridge the digital divide — but not if the ban remains.
State Rep. Todd Baxter, R-Austin, sits on the committee that is hearing this bill. I hope Baxter will do what's right for Austin and strike the municipal network ban from the bill.
Save Muni Wireless Coalition