April 04, 2005

High-Tech Coalition Decries Muni Barriers

The High Tech Broadband Coalition, an industry alliance formed by six of the leading tech industry trade associations, has released a policy position statement on municipal broadband. They oppose barriers such as those currently in HB 789.

Their position recognizes that broadband policy should be decided at the local level:

Because circumstances vary across municipalities, there is no one-size-fits-all prescription. Accordingly, no statewide statutory barriers to municipal participation, whether explicit or de facto, should be erected. Some municipalities may find private sector partners able to provide all of their services. Others may find private partners able to provide some, but not all, of the services they require. Still others – because of their small size, remote location, or other unique characteristics – may not find any private sector partners able to make the business case to provide their required services. The key and overarching principle is that municipalities, to the extent practical, should use open, competitively neutral processes to determine the private sector involvement and maintain those principles throughout the network’s operational life.

This policy statement is a tremendously important development. Industry is closing ranks with community groups in recognizing the important role muni broadband can play. The telco position ("create barriers to protect us") is becoming more and more isolated.

Read the full statement. (69KB PDF)

Posted by chip at April 4, 2005 03:02 PM