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Kansas Delays Municipal Broadband Ban

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the hold-up-cowboy dept.

The Internet 156

Mokurai writes with an update to a story from last week about legislation in Kansas that would have banned most municipal broadband, including the expansion of Google Fiber. Now, after the public backlash that erupted online, government officials have postponed the legislation's hearings, putting it on hold indefinitely. From the article: "Senate Bill 304 would prohibit cities and counties from building public broadband networks. The Commerce Committee, which [Sen. Julia Lynn] chairs, was scheduled to have a hearing Tuesday, but Lynn released a statement that hearings have been postponed indefinitely. 'Based on the concerns I heard last week, I visited with industry representatives and they have agreed to spend some time gathering input before we move forward with a public hearing,' Lynn said in a statement. 'We'll revisit the topic when some of these initial concerns have been addressed.' Lynn elaborated while exiting a Senate Judiciary hearing. The senator said she has instructed 'the parties' involved with the bill to address the public’s concerns. The bill was introduced by John Federico, a cable industry lobbyist."

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156 comments

Good (4, Insightful)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about 2 months ago | (#46154443)

Comcast_blackhat_01: "They've got a better product, we'd better lobby to have them kept out for no reason. We have to protect our phoney baloney jobs here, gentlemen! We must do something about this immediately! Immediately! Immediately! Harrumph! Harrumph!"

Re:Good (2, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | about 2 months ago | (#46154595)

Say what you will, but Comcast is the only broadband provider in some of my very urban-one-of-the-largest-cities-in-the-US area. Not the suburbs, but minutes from downtown. Verizon is building huge in the area, but not everywhere. ATT is building huge in the area, but not everywhere. So there is clear oppotunity for a third party to come in and compete and acutaly make life better for many people. To provide a broadband service for those who really don't have it. But what did Google decide to do? Go to another city who was 100% wired with multiple vendors almost everywhere. This is why I do not believe google fiber is the answer. They are not going into dense cities who are underserved. They are going into over served areas and trying to take the low hanging fruit. They are not creating markets and demand and new users. They are taking customers who already have service. Which is fine. But this is no way a moral fight. It is no way an underdog trying to save us from the oppressors. It is powerful company saying we are going to undercut other companies so that we can be a monopoly and set prices as we wish with no transparency, just as they do in ads.

Re:Good (4, Interesting)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about 2 months ago | (#46154619)

This is why I do not believe google fiber is the answer. They are not going into dense cities who are underserved. They are going into over served areas and trying to take the low hanging fruit.

Well, they're going into areas that are already served and putting the garbage existing providers (Comcast, Time Warner, etc) to shame.

They have to prove that this is workable and profitable before it can go everywhere.

Re:Good (1)

Mashdar (876825) | about 2 months ago | (#46155661)

You're telling me they won't put the pilot in a market telecoms won't touch with a ten foot pole? Evil!

Re:Good (2)

PRMan (959735) | about 2 months ago | (#46154899)

Maybe not enough people promised to sign up with them. Maybe they see that it's a low-income area where few people would even get broadband. Maybe everyone sees that.

Re:Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46154965)

Say what you will, but Comcast is the only broadband provider in some of my very urban-one-of-the-largest-cities-in-the-US area. Not the suburbs, but minutes from downtown.

But this is no way a moral fight. It is no way an underdog trying to save us from the oppressors. It is powerful company saying we are going to undercut other companies so that we can be a monopoly and set prices as we wish with no transparency, just as they do in ads.

So, you don't think it's a good thing because Google is trying to compete in an industry which has forcibly resisted competition for the past 50 years? The reason Comcast is the only broadband provider is because alllllll the telecomm companies have mutually agreed to divvy up everything so that they can all make money without having a reason to fight each other.

Google is certainly not doing this out of some sense of altruism. But regardless of why, it needs to happen. Either the existing companies will die (we can only hope) or they will stop lying to the public and provide access to fiber networks at reasonable prices (basically the same net result as if they stopped existing). Literally the only reason we aren't on fiber as a nation already is because the existing companies were printing golden gooses using the money falling from their money tree.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about 2 months ago | (#46155055)

The reason Comcast is the only broadband provider is because alllllll the telecomm companies have mutually agreed to divvy up everything so that they can all keep rates as high as possible without competition to drive costs down.

fixies~

Re:Good (2)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 months ago | (#46155099)

Comcast is the only broadband provider in some of my very urban-one-of-the-largest-cities-in-the-US area.

Comcast paid well in concessions for other territories to ensure this, likely. The cable companies swap service areas like they are trading cards.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46155393)

Comcast is the only provider in our area. Only other option is satellite. Satellite may be fine for TV if you have a window facing that way (our condo doesn't), but the only way you're getting internet without atrocious ping times is with Comcast. And I'm a couple metro stops from the Capitol in a densely populated, high property value area.

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

wizkid (13692) | about 2 months ago | (#46155151)

Say what you will about the big telcos that have buildings and pop's in the area. They won't provide broadband. Yes they're there and selling services to businesses. they won't touch broadband though. That would create competition. The only way to open up competition will be to encourage small business to come in and provide a better product. The telco's would rather spend money on lobbyists then put fiber in the ground.

Re:Good (0)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 months ago | (#46155181)

They are not going into dense cities who are underserved. They are going into over served areas and trying to take the low hanging fruit.

You make no sense at all. The "low hanging fruit" would be in areas with lots of customers and little competition. Which is the dense and under served cities, that you claim they are avoiding.

Re:Good (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 months ago | (#46156039)

As the article illustrates, market forces aren't the only issue. A political environment inclined to commit to completion of the project without throwing up obstacles is even more important. Google needs a successful pilot here, not one that faltered through legal or political intrigue.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46155381)

You are absolutely goddamn right on every point.

However (and this does not excuse Google), being starved of decent broadband as Americans have, it feels so decadent and so luxurious... like a soaking soapy bath or a ridiculously expensive sports car. I believe its worth moving from a cable/dsl-only area to a neighborhood where FiOS is available to get it, and, similarly, even moving from there to where Google Fibre is available. I love it and hate it, but the Internet is a big part of my life (not proud of this!), and 100x the broadband will help reduce that. There are more people that are worse than me about this hunger for infotaining entermation than there are that are better about controlling their online appetites.

Re:Good (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | about 2 months ago | (#46155861)

Say what you will, but Comcast is the only broadband provider in some of my very urban-one-of-the-largest-cities-in-the-US area. Not the suburbs, but minutes from downtown. Verizon is building huge in the area, but not everywhere. ATT is building huge in the area, but not everywhere. So there is clear oppotunity for a third party to come in and compete and acutaly make life better for many people.

Then Comcast probably has a monopoly contract with the city disallowing any competition.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

Zaelath (2588189) | about 2 months ago | (#46156073)

When did Google become a charity again? At best their move into fiber is a highly capitalized risk venture, and your suggestion is they should "create markets" by providing incredibly expensive data runs to people the rest of the industry can't be bothered servicing because there's not enough of them to make a profit on.

Traditionally that kind of folly is a role for government, perhaps you should be lobbying them to create a public network to compete with the privates. /laugh

Re:Good (1)

Sarius64 (880298) | about 2 months ago | (#46156409)

Comcast is the only provider because they've convinced municipalities that it is better to take bribes than foster competition. FWIW, they're no different from the energy cartels manned by retired politicians; seemingly immune to federal and state laws of any form of transparency with public monies. I applaud anything that removes the power of bribery from the public troughs. Screw Comcast.

Re:Good (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | about 2 months ago | (#46155833)

Comcast_blackhat_01: "They've got a better product, we'd better lobby to have them kept out for no reason. We have to protect our phoney baloney jobs here, gentlemen! We must do something about this immediately! Immediately! Immediately! Harrumph! Harrumph!"

It's not just that Google has a better product, but Google is playing by different rules. Being classified as an ISP in the US means that the FCC enforces rules which say that you can't mine your customers data. Now Google is coming along, saying their not an ISP, and can mine their customers data to subsidize the service.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 months ago | (#46155961)

Comcast_blackhat_01: "They've got a better product, we'd better lobby to have them kept out for no reason. We have to protect our phoney baloney jobs here, gentlemen! We must do something about this immediately! Immediately! Immediately! Harrumph! Harrumph!"

People railed against it. This proves Kansas isn't at the forefront of ignorance people suggest. Good for the people of Kansas for holding their leaders to account. Education is alive and well in the Sunflower State, the legislators were taught a lesson.

Re:Good (0)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 months ago | (#46156239)

This proves Kansas isn't at the forefront of ignorance people suggest.

let me just put this out there: winning a battle is not the same as winning a war.

as far as kansas goes, when they stop demanding their christianity be the official state religion (essentially) THEN you can say what you just said. until then, I will avoid kansas at all costs.

Lobbying.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46154467)

I imagine this not even upsetting the lobbying groups. I feel they already have formulaic responses to this preliminary failure.

Translation (5, Insightful)

Art Challenor (2621733) | about 2 months ago | (#46154495)

'We'll revisit the topic when some of these initial concerns have been addressed.'

We're going to keep introducing this legislation until people stop watching and we can pass it (see also SOPA).

Re:Translation (1)

danheskett (178529) | about 2 months ago | (#46154557)

Did they pass SOPA when I wasn't looking?

Re:Translation (5, Insightful)

c0lo (1497653) | about 2 months ago | (#46154715)

Did they pass SOPA when I wasn't looking?

They "distilled" it into TPP [wikipedia.org].
In a sudden burst of common sense, seems that that (the/some/idnk-what-percentage) Dems are opposing Obama on this one.

Re:Translation (1)

sjames (1099) | about 2 months ago | (#46155965)

They're currently working on the 3rd or 4th (I lose count) attempt to pass a re-packaged SOPA.

Re:Translation (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | about 2 months ago | (#46154669)

And the cable companies will keep trying to buy politicians so that they can get this passed.

Fuck them.

Instead, get a law passed that allows the government to install the pipes and allow the homeowners to choose between ISPs that have leased those pipes from the local government.

Re:Translation (-1, Troll)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about 2 months ago | (#46155071)

So... you're thinking the introduction of government into this system will make the system cheaper and higher quality?

Re:Translation (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 months ago | (#46156001)

So... you're thinking the introduction of government into this system will make the system cheaper and higher quality?

Um, the government's been in "this system" since the Internet was born.

The question should have been whether or not the introduction of telecoms into "this system" and giving them defacto control over the market while allowing them to also be content providers in clear violation of antitrust laws was a good idea.

Re:Translation (1)

frisket (149522) | about 2 months ago | (#46155093)

Good luck with getting that enabled in the USA. I can hear the screams of "Socialism" already.

Have the government lay literal pipes (5, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | about 2 months ago | (#46155525)

Then instead of having the government install "pipes" as in physical media for data communication, have the government install literal pipes. Because utilities' so-called natural monopolies ultimately result from government ownership of roads [mises.org], city governments have power to take steps to grant utility access more efficiently, as I explained further in this comment [slashdot.org]. The city would bury conduit, and utility companies would pull their own copper, fiber, or whatever through the conduit. This would start in any neighborhood scheduled for water, sewer, or natural gas maintenance.

Re:Translation (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about 2 months ago | (#46154997)

Except, by delaying, any planned projects will be rushed through to completion, and once cities and counties start putting in fiber and public wifi that cat's out of the bag.

The summary is a bit misleading, because this would not have blocked Google Fiber. It might have blocked Google supplying an upstream to municipal fiber at a very cheap rate, but even that isn't clear. Once the infrastructure is in place at public expense, its pretty hard mandate its sale or destruction or abandonment. Every city would have grounds to sue.

Cities provide water, sewer, roads, fire protection, and police. In some places, you will find examples of each such service being provided by private industry. Sometimes under contract, rarely in competition. There is scarcely room for competing roads, sewer, or water. Those are things that are natural monopolies.

I've got no problem if a city wants to provide municipal fiber, but I do have a problem when doing so blocks competition or decides what content may be carried.

Municipal fiber, like municipal roads and water, must serve all comers, and must collect revenue from all users via one means or another. (Most people realize that municipal fiber will either become the tragedy of the commons OR it will have to charge competitive rates just to maintain the plant.) Content provision should never be regulated by municipalities. (Too much risk of "won't somebody think of the children" demanding censorship).

Municipal fiber, done right, means more competition, not less. It opens the door for Road Runner, and Century Link, and Google to service what use to be an exclusive Comcast territory, because they can all use the same plant, just like their trucks all use the same street. Access fees, sure. Total throughput fees, sure.

However, I don't think the big broadband companies want to fight this too hard. After all, if the municipality does not provide the physical plant, those companies have to make a HUGE investment in neighborhood plant before they can collect a cent of revenue. Its only where they are already entrenched (see what I did there?) that these companies are looking to prevent municipal broadband.Trying to preserve their existing monopoly.

But I bet they are also doing the math, and realizing they can access more customers than they would lose, especially for TV, when sat dishes are dirt cheap.

 

Re:Translation (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 months ago | (#46155605)

But I bet they are also doing the math, and realizing they can access more customers than they would lose, especially for TV, when sat dishes are dirt cheap.

But being limited to 10 GB of data transfer per month (source: exede.com) after you've switched from cable to satellite isn't fun.

Re:Translation (1)

icebike (68054) | about 2 months ago | (#46155933)

Well you bring up another good point.

Satellite is really only good for Television, and it makes a terrible internet access route.

But big cable companies like Comcast make their bread and butter selling TV access, its more lucrative than internet access.
Some think this is likely to be replaced by intenet tv. Others dispute this [qz.com].

But the prospect for internet TV, where every single viewing results in a separate TCP/IP feed, scares the hell out of cable companies because even if they manage to get some revenue out of it by hosting things like Netflix on their own plant, they simply do not have enough bandwidth in the ground using old school (coax) cable plants to accommodate the demand. Every TV in the house, and every computer streaming separate programs at different times. GAH!!! The load will kill your typical coax plant.

They are staring an entire infrastructure replacement in the face. Uprooting every front lawn in the country stringing new fiber.

This is another reason I don't believe big cable fights municipal fiber too strenuously.

Re:Translation (0)

stdarg (456557) | about 2 months ago | (#46155991)

The problem for the companies you mentioned (except Google) is that they are infrastructure companies more than content companies. I don't understand your argument that city-owned fiber would increase competition among ISPs. Wouldn't it in fact replace the ISPs? Instead of Time Warner providing a link between you (consumer) and Disney (producer), the city provides the link, just like they provide roads and stuff.

I'm all for municipal fiber projects but let's call a spade a spade. Municipal fiber means the death of ISPs. I support that death because ISPs have been unwilling to invest in their networks and provide a product I want. Screw 'em.

Re:Translation (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 months ago | (#46156193)

Typically munis only handle the last mile infrastructure. They grant access to ISPs who take care of selling, billing, providing the actual Internet. The minis take a cut of the fees. The ISPs do well in this system, freed of the high capital costs.

Re:Translation (1)

icebike (68054) | about 2 months ago | (#46156285)

Like roads, City Fiber provides pathways. But not vehicles. You still have to buy your own car, (or take what ever your city offers in the way of public transport).

You still have to pay for content, to TV, Movies, and your bandwidth for Computer usage. I don't see cities getting into licensing negotiations with Studios, Disney, CBS, NBC for fees. I don't see them providing Email accounts. You will still choose who you are going to pay those TV royalties to, whether you stream or watch cable (fiber) TV.

Municipalities don't want to buy your upstream content, or bandwidth for you. Its huge business, that only the largest cities with full coffers could afford to take on.

By opening the plant for all providers, cities can collect some fees from the providers, and some fees direct from each household. You are probably still going to have somebody's cable/fiber modem in your house.

Believe me, you do not want your municipality regulating content, or limiting bandwidth due to tax constraints, or having every religious group lobbying to shut down huge sections of the internet.

Re:Translation (1)

sjames (1099) | about 2 months ago | (#46156075)

However, I don't think the big broadband companies want to fight this too hard. After all, if the municipality does not provide the physical plant, those companies have to make a HUGE investment in neighborhood plant before they can collect a cent of revenue. Its only where they are already entrenched (see what I did there?) that these companies are looking to prevent municipal broadband.Trying to preserve their existing monopoly.

There have been too many cases where a provider has refused to serve an area, the people vote for municipal broadband, and then the very same provider sues to block it for your analysis to be correct.

Given the cost and quality of service reported where municipal broadband has been implemented, it is more likely the telcos want to block it everywhere so it doesn't become too obvious what a poor deal they are actually offering.

Re:Translation (1)

icebike (68054) | about 2 months ago | (#46156311)

The cost and quality is far from convincing proof.

Have you used municipal broadband, such as WIFI for a tablet or something? Its not a bed of roses. You've got municipal employees trying to manage things they have no training for, on limited budgets, and no ability to control load.

Terrible wording in title (again) (4, Informative)

Huntr (951770) | about 2 months ago | (#46154501)

They didn't delay the ban because there was never a ban in place, just like last week when public broadband expansion wasn't restricted.

There was a bill to do so. They tabled hearings on it because of public opinion. Learn the process and write intelligently about it.

Re:Terrible wording in title (again) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46154765)

True, but what bothers me about this is endemic to US politics: an industry lobbyist introduced a bill solely to stifle competition, and after public outcry, the politicians' response was "well, we need to look into it" -- as opposed to "this is ridiculous, how does it server the public interest?" before people ever heard about it

Re:Terrible wording in title (again) (-1, Offtopic)

PRMan (959735) | about 2 months ago | (#46154929)

Hey Prop 8 in California doesn't BAN anything either. It just defines the word marriage as being between a man and a woman. Yet it has been reported 10,000 times by the media as a "ban". Is that a fair characterization or not?

Re:Terrible wording in title (again) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46155113)

If you define something as a restriction that doesnt allow someone to do something, yes it is a ban. So yes, calling a Prop 8 a ban is entirely fair.

Re:Terrible wording in title (again) (1)

Mashdar (876825) | about 2 months ago | (#46155733)

Laws don't need the word "ban" in them to ban things, and your argument is wholly tangential to GP's.

How a redefinition acts as a ban (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 months ago | (#46156315)

The old, wide definition was that a domestic partnership is 2 adult humans. The new, narrower definition was that a domestic partnership is 2 adult humans, one legally male, the other legally female. If activities that were lawful under the old definition are unlawful under the new, narrower definition, this has the same effect as a ban on any activities covered by the difference in definitions. Consider the No Electronic Theft Act of 1997, which banned U.S. warez groups from using a ratio trading system by expanding the definition of "financial gain" that the criminal copyright infringement statute uses.

Re:Terrible wording in title (again) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46155019)

This. Thank you. Those of us in Kansas appreciate accurate headlines.

Re:Terrible wording in title (again) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46155723)

Learn the process and write intelligently about it.

comment bot: This is Slashdot, we were all new here once.

We elect the greediest, most ill-informed... (1)

killfixx (148785) | about 2 months ago | (#46154519)

...politicians. How the hell do we keep doing this?

I'm so sick of how apathetic people are.

If this happened in my state, I'd be writing letters everyday!

Not allowed to build infrastructure because it might put someone else out of business... Boo-fucking-hoo... We, as a country, have no obligation to support your flawed or failing business model...

Fucking fascist politicians... Those lobbyist presents must be wonderful, indeed! Especially seeing as how they're willing to sell out the constituents for them!

Re:We elect the greediest, most ill-informed... (5, Insightful)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about 2 months ago | (#46154597)

No one votes on issues anymore. Everyone has been conditioned to vote based on identity politics.

const "I am a (voting_block_01), therefore, I vote for (party_01)."

Re:We elect the greediest, most ill-informed... (1)

Dark Fire (14267) | about 2 months ago | (#46154985)

Replace congressman with simple if then else voting logic?

Re:We elect the greediest, most ill-informed... (2)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 2 months ago | (#46155167)

if (getContribution(ATT) > getContribution(COMCAST))
vote(ATT);
else
vote(COMCAST);


That sort of thing? That's what we have now.

Re:We elect the greediest, most ill-informed... (1, Funny)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about 2 months ago | (#46155173)

if MyPartyIsInPower()
{
      ExpandGovernment();
}
else
{
      ComplainAboutProposal();
      Vote(random());
}

Re:We elect the greediest, most ill-informed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46155705)

$ diff -urw /tmp/politico.c.bak /tmp/politico.c
--- /tmp/politico.c.bak 2014-02-04 16:16:41.450629374 -0600
+++ /tmp/politico.c 2014-02-04 16:18:00.288248538 -0600
@@ -6,4 +6,5 @@
  {
              ComplainAboutProposal();
              Vote(random());
+ PanderToBase();
  }

Re:We elect the greediest, most ill-informed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46155317)

Absolutely correct. Sheeple. And they follow party values even when the party values are in direct conflict with the constituent's or person's own ideals, goals, and values. Vote me king and my very first action will be to abolish political parties.

It all comes from the basic construct of the human brain: pattern matching machine. As such, people like to categorize, classify, organize, etc., and to a detriment - eg: stereotyping, age/gender/race/class bias, rush to injustice, and overall acting on rash impulse rather than reason and rational thought.

Re:We elect the greediest, most ill-informed... (1)

mk1004 (2488060) | about 2 months ago | (#46155679)

Well, if you are king, political parties are a moot point anyway. Of course, if you are king, you can do whatever you want, so abolish away.

Re:We elect the greediest, most ill-informed... (2)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 2 months ago | (#46154841)

Elections, sadly, have little to do with this. The ban was introduced by a lobbyist group representing big telecom companies. When the outcry emerged, the lobbyist group declared they'd rewrite the bill. Then, the lobbyist group called for the bill to be withdrawn. The legislators are mere middlemen doing what the lobbyists tell them to do. We could save money and get rid of the legislators entirely. Just let lobbyist groups hash out what the laws will be. (Not saying this will be better. Just that we'd at least save on salaries for worthless legislators.)

Re:We elect the greediest, most ill-informed... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#46154853)

well then, run for office.

I know, it will be [INSERT EXCUSE HERE] and besides you also have [INSERT EXCUSE HERE].

Re:We elect the greediest, most ill-informed... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46154887)

*sigh*

The ignorant crying apathy. Beautiful.

What you describe is not what it is.

"Not allowed to build infrastructure because it might put someone else out of business"; Is not what is happening here.

It proposes a ban on the use of municipal funds/contracts to do it. (The *very* same muni-contracts/funding that got Comcast (or Charter, or whatever) their monopoly in *your* area that I am sure you probably wrote all kinds of letter about, right?)

The reason corporations get away with bad deals is because people like you don't bother to take the 10 sends it would take to Google what the actual deal *is*.

Freedom? (1)

__Paul__ (1570) | about 2 months ago | (#46154555)

What sort of a country, whose politicians are always going on about how much they believe in freedom, would even countenance introducing such legislation?

Re:Freedom? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 months ago | (#46154621)

One with a tremendous amount of hypocrites? And I'm not even pretending that's just the US, humans have a slight tendency towards hypocrisy.

Re:Freedom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46154685)

A deeply delusional country that has been conditioned to be constantly fed lies by politicians, and revolts if anyone tells the truth regarding their absurd beliefs.

Americans are very ignorant and superstitious when compared to people in western nations.

Re:Freedom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46155421)

Humans everywhere are very ignorant and superstitious. Period.

Fixed that for you.

Re:Freedom? (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 months ago | (#46154751)

Ones that had an interest it keeping rural internet access viable. Internet access is ONLY profitable in city centers. Telco monopolies in these areas are why people in rural areas even have phone service, let alone internet. The telco is required to provide service to any existing home in the area so they spread out the cost. If cities continue to allow competition into the only part of the market that's profitable and not put the same requirements on these new ISPs as the telcos, then the telcos will fail and there will be no rural phone and internet service. Look at the current cable footprint in your town... that's the ONLY place internet will be available without a cellphone if this continues. Do you want that?

I don't like monopolies either, but there's a reason telcos are setup the way they are... and it has nothing to do with helping them make lots of money. In fact, it significantly hurts their bottom line. If you let them compete on equal footing (i.e. removed service requirements) They'd drop their rural customers in a heartbeat and destroy Google and others almost immediately because they already have all the infrastructure in place.

Re:Freedom? (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 2 months ago | (#46154909)

These are not telcos remember, ISPs are not categorized, by their own wishes, as telcos. There is nothing that says TWC, ATT, or comcast have to provide internet to the rural areas as it stands, so I am not seeing your point. In addition the only one who even owns a telco is ATT, so what you are saying is we need to also ban all the cable operators, wait, they have not destroyed ATT yet, so your logic is flawed.

Re:Freedom? (4, Interesting)

PRMan (959735) | about 2 months ago | (#46154971)

They already took billions to get internet to rural areas and then didn't do it anyway. We're done playing that ridiculous game. If you want to live out in the boonies, it's up to you to get your own internet (through satellite or whatever means necessary).

Re:Freedom? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 months ago | (#46155049)

Telco monopolies in these areas are why people in rural areas even have phone service, let alone internet.

No, that's the Universal Service Fund [wikipedia.org] you're thinking of.

Of course, it would help if the telcos would actually use that money for expanding access, and not lobbying Congress/increasing shareholder profits.

Source: I deal with those shady fuckers (telcos) all day, every day.

Re:Freedom? (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 2 months ago | (#46155147)

Ones that had an interest it keeping rural internet access viable. Internet access is ONLY profitable in city centers.

Not exactly...

Tillamook County, OR only has around 25,000 souls living in it, yet CenturyLink and Charter are currently fighting tooth-and-nail for their business. Let me put this into perspective: the county's biggest income centers are beef, cheese [tillamook.com], some seafood, and a handful of tourist beach towns ( mostly visited by folks from Portland - 80+ miles away, but a metro area holding approx. 3 million residents).

CL was there first (riding the DSL lines), but cannot seem to give more than 6mb/sec (if you're lucky), and you're paying nearly $70/mo for the dubious honor. Charter came in and began offering 30mb/sec for $30/mo.

In other news, it may be a touch slower (and unsuitable for gaming due to lag), but you can get somewhat serviceable Internet connectivity from various sat providers (Dish, HughesNet, etc), all of whom have been forced to up the speeds and lower the prices.

Overall, we're beginning to see a revolution of sorts when it comes to rural broadband. It'll be a bit slower in most cases, but the competition is heating up, and geography + sat providers (with some 3/4G wireless providers tossed in) tends to make sure that mono/duopolies are going to be hard to form.

Re:Freedom? (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about 2 months ago | (#46155629)

Internet access is ONLY profitable in city centers.

Then we should eliminate crop subsidies so people who live out in the country can afford the true cost of their Internet.

I wouldn't mind paying a little more for vegetables if it means less tax money is needed to subsidize farmers.

Being facetious and an analogy that I'm surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46154609)

Would it not be just as fun if we could live in world where not only our communication but also our transportation were banned from municipal participation?

Introduced by a lobbyist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46154641)

Since when can a lobbyist introduce a bill? I know they write them all the time, but I thought they had to buy a legislator to actually introduce it.

Come on Common Carrier! (5, Insightful)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 2 months ago | (#46154677)

The sooner these bastards get labeled common carriers the better.

Re:Come on Common Carrier! (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 2 months ago | (#46154987)

Mod this up. This is the solution to the problem.

Re:Come on Common Carrier! (1)

grmoc (57943) | about 2 months ago | (#46156131)

Sign the petition about it:

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/restore-net-neutrality-directing-fcc-classify-internet-providers-common-carriers/5CWS1M4P

At least it helps it get more noticed.

Re:Come on Common Carrier! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46155989)

Or have the legal protections of common carriers taken away. Either would be fine. Cake and eating it is not.

Translation (2)

Anita Coney (648748) | about 2 months ago | (#46154695)

"putting it on hold indefinitely"

Let me translate: "We're putting it on hold until the uproar dies down."

Re:Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46154857)

If at first you don't succeed, try try again,
      when you can get away with it.

Fundamental rule:
      Never wound a bad idea, kill it dead, dead, dead.

Internet should be public infrastructure (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46154737)

If water, electricity, phone, and sewer were privatized prior to build out by the public, we wouldn't have any where near the infrastructure we do today. I think the same goes for Internet access. Let the public build out fiber, and then lease to any private company to provide competitive telco, internet, and entertainment products.

Re:Internet should be public infrastructure (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 months ago | (#46154901)

Limiting how broadband can grow is monumentally stupid. This is a great way to make small towns unlivable and discourage business outside of established city centers where rents are cheaper and small companies can thrive.

One of major divisions in the country right now isn't liberals vs business, it's big business vs. small business. This is anti-small business to the max. All business requires good Internet these days, and bills like this just make sure that good service is in a limited area and at much to high of a price. Governmental initiative is part of the so-called "free market", like it or not.

Re:Internet should be public infrastructure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46155823)

One of these days people may wake up to the fact that a right to some level of freedom of speech on the internet should be established as a global human right. Giving the ISPs a free hand to manipulate and throttle certain kinds over others under the guise of 'reasonable network management' is a real problem.

lobbyists introduce legislation? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46154815)

"The bill was introduced by John Federico, a cable industry lobbyist."

Since when do lobbyists introduce legislation?
The first link has a comment that Federico wrote the bill.

So, who was the legislator who introduced the bill? If I lived in Kansas, that the question that I would want answered. It seems that he/she has some confusion as to whom they are paid by the taxpayers to represent.

Re:lobbyists introduce legislation? (1)

ShaunC (203807) | about 2 months ago | (#46155493)

Same thing I came in here to ask about. I mean, we sorta know that the lobbyists write the bills (see: Jack Abramoff) but they didn't always flaunt the fact...

visited with industry representatives (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#46154825)

well then screw you. The people want community broadband, listen to them. Industry experts are going to tell you that they have the best way an d it will only work if they control it; which is BS.

ALEC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46154889)

Obviously, the cable companies and AT&T are behind on their ALEC dues or just haven't paid enough extra to get this into law, yet.

I await downmod (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 months ago | (#46154907)

All these cities and counyries that have government-sponsored delivery rely on the throbbing dynamism of capitalism to keep generating faster and faster Interney.

Once that dries up, it turns into a festival of businessmen whining for more money, rather than innovate lest they be left behind.

As with medicine, any government can hand it out for free...once someone else invents it.

Did you know Wal Mart sells a cheap blood glucose meter that's only $10 per 50 test strips? Meanwhile oher companies produce stupid, far more expensive and unnecessary ones designed to suck the tit of medicaid -- whining for more government money rather than innovate, evolving in that direction instead, where whining to officials supercedes innovation and competition.

Re: I await downmod (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46155095)

I'm with you, but I have mixed feelings about supporting big boxmarts.

Re evaluate munni broadband (5, Informative)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 months ago | (#46154959)

It is now time for all the states who put up barriers to or outright banned municipal broadband to look at the results and see if it serves the public interest. It does not. Everywhere these bills pass the incumbent cable companies immediately shut down investment because they no longer have to provide modern service.

Washington state has such a law. Before it was enacted some municipalities were already started and so were grandfathered in. That is why you can have had gigabit fiber Internet to the home in Ephrata, WA (pop 8,000) for 14 years now, and Microsoft is building vast data centers out that way. It is also why you can't get gigabit fiber to your home in Seattle Metro area installed today, which enjoys a global peering point and is home to Microsoft, Amazon and a bunch of other big tech companies whose employees could really benefit from the service, and has 600 times the population density. This even though the cost of the equipment has come down by a factor of 100 in that 14 years.

This is just wrong.

Re:Re evaluate munni broadband (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 2 months ago | (#46155617)

A January 19th story [slashdot.org] on slashdot seems to indicate that municipality internet isnt the panacea everyone wants it to be. That Iowa municipality is switching to metered broadband:

5GB/month = $25/month
25GB/month = $100/month
100GB/month = $300/month

It turns out that local political hacks arent good at setting up and running a broadband network.

Re:Re evaluate munni broadband (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 2 months ago | (#46156041)

It turns out that local political hacks arent good at setting up and running a broadband network.

It's a co-op, not a municipal network. It's certainly possible that the people that control the municipality also control the co-op, since rural areas have a tendency to have Boss Hogs, but it's by no means a given. This is certainly an example of co-op directors making some incredibly poor choices. Whether or not the members can hold a vote and fix the problem depends on the bylaws of the co-op (and their own motivation to do something about the situation). Neither of those things has anything to do with any municipality.

Citizens Unite? (3, Insightful)

kennytosh (707149) | about 2 months ago | (#46154999)

Why can a lobbyist introduce legislation into a State Legislature? There is something seriously wrong with that.

Re:Citizens Unite? (3, Insightful)

frisket (149522) | about 2 months ago | (#46155135)

This is the USA. Corporate interests own the legislatures.

The bill was introduced by John Federico, a cable industry lobbyist.

What do you expect? Who let this asshat in the door?

Re:Citizens Unite? (3, Informative)

rsborg (111459) | about 2 months ago | (#46156319)

This is the USA. Corporate interests own the legislatures.

The bill was introduced by John Federico, a cable industry lobbyist.

What do you expect? Who let this asshat in the door?

What do you think corporate funding of campaigns are going to result it? These corps aren't stupid, they're in it for returns. A congresscritter pet better earn it's keep or it's off the payroll.

Thank Citizens United and rollback of campaign finance reform (won't anyone thing of those $$?)

The Government Can't do Shit Correctly (-1, Troll)

marcgvky (949079) | about 2 months ago | (#46155105)

Trust me, I work in state government in technology.... if you even think for just a moment that broadband can be provided by the gov't: 1) less expensively and 2) at a reasonable quality and 3) without spying on your every web request or 4) trying to intervene and filter what you are able to do with that connection.... then you are a blind idiot and need to pipe-down. I would much rather have Google spam me with targeted ads, rather than give the State Dept. of Homeland Security access to every query/web request/porn etc. etc.

Re:The Government Can't do Shit Correctly (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46155863)

But perhaps they can [wikipedia.org].

Trust me, I work in state government in technology.

If you don't think the gov't can do a good job, then why not get out? The last thing any organization needs is people on the inside with bad attitudes.

Just a Temporary Setback for Telecom/Cable (1)

rabun_bike (905430) | about 2 months ago | (#46155127)

This is code for "whoops we have opposition so what we need to do is pretend to care about citizen input and setup some 'educational' meetings." Once that dog and pony show is done they can go back to standard operating procedure and push the bill through. When people complain the politicians who get large campaign contributions from those that wrote the bill will say "you had your say and now we have to make the best decision for all residents of Kansas and the best interest of the state" or some BS like that.

Municipal owned utilities? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46155183)

What I fail to grasp is that we can and do have municipally owned water and sewer, and electricity/light companies, but we can't have municipally owned broadband? I live a in small town in New England and we have a town owned light department that was considering wiring the town with fibre until some asshat "journalist" came along, wangled an invitation to a seat on the advisory committee by virtue of his celebrity status, and proceeded to pooh-pooh the idea – effectively killing it. This was all before we had Comcast or FIOS available. Clearly Mr. Asshat wasn't there serving the town residents, although I have to wonder just who he thought he was serving. He later moved away. Good Riddance.

(Well, now we have both Comcast and FIOS, not that "competition" is doing anything to drive the price down. RCN was supposed to come in but they bailed out, reneging on their no-penalty-clause-contract with the town, during one of the economic downturns. Not that I have any faith that if they were here that there'd be any more competitive pressure on prices.)

Entrenched players buying politicians (1)

kawabago (551139) | about 2 months ago | (#46155229)

It happens so often it's surprising legislators don't put out a price list for laws that favour your business.

Re:Entrenched players buying politicians (1)

rsborg (111459) | about 2 months ago | (#46156351)

It happens so often it's surprising legislators don't put out a price list for laws that favour your business.

Why limit the upside? Value-based pricing FTW [1]. On the other hand, in competitive legislative markets, there may indeed be such a menu, it's just not for public consumption. What do you think the golf courses, resort stays and cruises are for? Private meeting rooms to divvy up public resources for pennies on the dollar.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V... [wikipedia.org]

Admission that corporations can't compete (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46155641)

Lots of people claim that private-sector businesses are much more efficient and cost-effective than government at providing services or producing products (and every other imaginable task). Asking for protectionist legislation that bans municipal governments from competing with businesses is a clear admission that businesses are less efficient and less cost-effective than a government solution to the problem. If businesses are really so much better at everything, they should never need legislative protection from competition. They should be able to offer customers a better product or service (or a lower price for an equivalent product or service) than the government can.

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