March 17, 2005
HB789 Committee substitute is out -- muni wireless ban is GONE -- but don't relax yet -- bad amendments expected
Section 54.202 no longer includes a ban on city-supported network services. The bill is back to status quo, which is a ban on cities providing phone service.
Here is the current language (16KB PDF) in the bill.
We heard from legislative offices yesterday that legislators have been hearing from constituents. Your phone calls, faxes, and emails are having an impact.
But it's not time to relax -- we expect bad amendments to appear again on the House floor, or attached to other telecom bills like HB 2637.
We hear that SBC is continuing to lobby members HARD to prevent cities and towns from increasing high-speed internet choices for citizens.
Posted by alevin at March 17, 2005 10:33 AM
Woo Hoo! Kudos all around to everyone who participated.
Thanks, www.saveMuniWireless.org for keeping us informed. I'm going to keep watching.
It will be a hard battle; just to keep the opportunity, much less convince city officils to implement city wireless.
You guys are full of it. Cities should not be in the business of providing broadband services, just as they should not be providing telephone service. The wireless industry will soon blanket the country with cheap, i.e. $9.99/month Broadband Internet service that will make the need for the cities to be involved a waste of taxpayers money.
There are 16 counties in Texas with no broadband, and 93 counties in Texas with no broadband competition. We regularly talk to people in smaller cities that don't have broadband. They tell us that they have begged the incumbents to come, with no results. In the city of Philadelphia, 40% of residents did not have access to broadband.
The incumbents naturally want to have the opportunity to maximize revenue. This means that they "redline" -- they provide service in densely populated wealthy areas.
But broadband -- like electricity and transportation-- is critical to economic survival. That's why we are seeing cities and towns stepping in.
Alex Shaskevich says "The wireless industry will soon blanket the country with cheap, i.e. $9.99/month Broadband Internet service that will make the need for the cities to be involved a waste of taxpayers money."
If that's the case, then what could possibly be the point of putting a ban on cities' offerings? That's what the wireless industry you mention uniformly supports. If the cities don't need to be involved, they won't be involved. The citizens can make that decision unencumbered by a one-size-fits-Texas law, and if this future service you mention turns out so outstanding and cheap, cities won't want to bother.