March 03, 2005

Illinois Bill Stalled

An Illinois bill to ban municipal broadband stalled last week after facing stiff opposition from citizen and community groups. Independent media reports:

Illinois State Senator Steve Rauschenberger, the Assistant Republican leader of the twenty-second district, was slated to call Senate Bill 499, which says in part that “No political subdivision of this State shall provide or offer for sale, either to the public or to a telecommunications provider, a telecommunications service or telecommunications facility used to provide a telecommunications service.”
A flurry of negative media coverage and organizing brought increased attention to the bill and its uncompromised wording, which may have contributed to Rauschenberger’s about-face. The issue was covered in a number of print and online media outlets, including the Chicago Daily Herald,, Slashdot, and The NewStandard.
A coalition of citizen and community groups under the umbrella designation Get Illinois Online have been working on the issue, and continue to organize and mobilize to amidst a struggle in 2005 which will see a rewrite of the state’s main legislation concerning the internet and telecommunication.
In 2004, the Supreme Court affirmed the political right of states to establish their own community internet ventures. Thus, major telecommunications companies have been forced to lobby state by state to repeal this right and hand over captured markets to companies like SBC and Comcast, as is already done in fourteen states nationwide. Senate Bill 499 would have done that in Illinois.


Posted by alevin at March 3, 2005 01:44 PM