April 17, 2005

The Truth about Municipal Broadband Networks

Connecting the Public: The Truth About Municipal Broadband" counters arguments that municipal networks improperly take the role of private enterprise. From the Executive Summary:

  • Municipal networks, or even the threat of municipal entry, provide the competition necessary to keep rates low and quality of service high. ...

  • Municipal systems do not “crowd out” private providers any more than the New York City Subway “crowds out” private taxi cabs and car services.... To the contrary, studies and anecdotal evidence repeatedly show that where municipal systems take on the expensive task of building network infrastructure, the number of private providers increases.

  • Local governments do not favor themselves on taxes or right of ways or otherwise compete unfairly with incumbent telecommunications and incumbent cable companies. To the contrary, private incumbents enjoy a wealth of state and federal subsidies, guaranteed rates of return, regulated rates for pole attachments, etc....

Glenn Fleishman of WifiNetNews researches the source of the report and doesn't find any conflicts of interest.

I just took the same approach to looking at the funding, staff, and board members of Free Press. The funding is miniscule compared to the think-tanks involved in the anti-municipal effort: a few hundred thousand dollars a year drives Free Press’s work. I was unable to find any smoking guns on the board members or staff: they’re mostly academics and journalists with an interest in fighting government and corporate propaganda that distorts the public understanding. But they don’t seem to have an ideological bent.

Posted by alevin at April 17, 2005 02:18 PM