April 06, 2005
Phil King Still Confused
Yesterday's Fort Worth Star-Telegram published an article on the anti-wireless provision of HB 789. The article has a very discouraging quote from Rep. Phil King, the bill sponsor:
King said he views most municipal Wi-Fi networks as a ploy by cities to start for-profit businesses.
"No business should have to compete with public tax dollars," King said.
Telecommunication companies hold the same position. SBC spokesman Gene Acuna wrote in an e-mail that cities should provide Web access only in public spaces and cited a threat to free-market competition.
I'm dismayed by Rep. King's statement. The testimony presented to Rep. King's committee doesn't support that statement. We've not seen a single case where a municipality has operated a broadband network primarily as a for-profit service. The targets have always been selected on the basis of need—never revenue potential.
If a muni network costs the municipality money, we're told it's wasting taxpayer money. If the network is run on a break-even or revenue positive basis, we're told it's unfair competition. This argument is as fair as a two-headed quarter.
Clearly Rep. King has the wrong metric. The right metric is: are we making more broadband available to Texas citizens and companies? There are a variety of models to do that. We say let the markets and communities decide, not the special interests.
Glenn Fleishman has some further comments on this article.
Read the full article. (registration required)Posted by chip at April 6, 2005 12:31 PM