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AT&T Network United States Businesses Government The Internet News Technology

AT&T, Comcast Kill Local Gigabit Expansion Plans In Tennessee 165

An anonymous reader writes from an article on DSLRReports: For some time now municipal broadband operator EPB Broadband has been saying that a state law written by ATT and Comcast lobbyists have prevented the organization from expanding its gigabit broadband offerings (and ten gigabit broadband offerings) throughout Tennessee. Three state laws currently exist in more than twenty states, and prohibit towns from deploying their own broadband -- or often even striking public/private partnerships -- even in cases of obvious market failure. A proposal that would have recently lifted this statewide restriction in Tennessee was recently shot down thanks to ATT and Comcast lobbying. The proposal was shot down by a 5-3 vote, with Rep. Patsy Hazlewood, a former ATT executive, being one of the votes against. Even a new compromise proposal (which would have simply let EPB expand slightly in the same county where it is headquartered as well as one adjoining country) was shot down, after 27 broadband industry lobbyists -- most of whom belonging to ATT and Comcast -- fought in unison to kill the proposal. Last year the FCC voted to dismantle broadband protectionist bills in both Tennessee and North Carolina, though these efforts remain bogged down in court. ISP-loyal lawmakers in the states have argued that the FCC's attempt to shoot down these laws violates their states' rights, though letting Comcast and ATT write awful state telecom law doesn't appear to generate the same disdain.
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AT&T, Comcast Kill Local Gigabit Expansion Plans In Tennessee

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  • Don't let.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shmoe ( 17051 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @05:36PM (#51711089) Homepage

    That revolving door hit you in the ass on the way out, Rep. Hazlewood.

    What a sorry state of affairs when even those who claim to be from the party of small government and individual responsibility are still in big corporations' pockets.

    • Re:Don't let.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Daemonik ( 171801 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @06:02PM (#51711289) Homepage
      How do you think society will work once the "small government" crew have demolished all the government? Corporations filling the void they create is their end game.
      • Re:Don't let.. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Obfuscant ( 592200 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @06:19PM (#51711385)
        Uhhh, yeah, the idea behind small government is not expanding government to provide every little thing the people might want to have, like broadband internet, especially when it can be provided by a commercial operation.

        It is perfectly consistent to object to expanding local governments to compete with private enterprise, which by those who want larger governments (and higher taxes to pay for them) will be branded as "being in the corporate pockets." Anything that supports private enterprise is "in the corporate pockets", so that epithet isn't as negative as some people try to make it sound.

        The correct answer to "lets make another government agency to do X" is "if enough people want X, then create a company to provide it." If there were enough people in this community that want gigabit broadband to make it viable, some company would do it. That way the people who want it will pay, and those who do not won't have to.

        Of course, a company would have to pump in the cash to create the infrastructure, and that cash would come only from customers, while a government-created infrastructure would be built using tax money. That's one reason why it is unfair for government to try competing against private companies. And unfair competition includes applying laxer standards for the newcomer than are being applied to the incumbent. Like fewer restrictions and expectations when issuing a franchise.

        • by ADRA ( 37398 )

          To be fair, a large portion of a company's telco infrastructure was originally given to them through tax dollars, so its a little disingenuous to say company's are simply consumer paid. Plus as 'public utilities', these services are used universally by society, so if its paid for by government or companies, its essentially all taxpayers that are paying for it.

          As for the idea of 'public utilities', the number of people who use internet access,
          http://www.wired.com/2015/07/1... [wired.com]
          15% is low and only likely to get

          • Re:Don't let.. (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Obfuscant ( 592200 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @07:49PM (#51711815)

            To be fair, a large portion of a company's telco infrastructure was originally given to them through tax dollars,

            Comcast was not a telco when it built out the cable infrastructure.

            Plus as 'public utilities', these services are used universally by society, so if its paid for by government or companies, its essentially all taxpayers that are paying for it.

            If I am not a Comcast customer I am not paying Comcast anything. In fact, the cash flow is the opposite direction since Comcast subscribers are indirectly paying the government for the franchise. If the government competes with Comcast and I am a Comcast customer, then I am paying the government in taxes for them to provide service to others, paying the government for the franchise rights (which the government doesn't pay) and paying Comcast, too.

            This is the same situation that has led to the push for school vouchers, so that people who wish to use private schools and not consume the public school resources are not double-charged for the same service.

            Speaking of USPS, why does the US have USPS and not shutter that as well and leave it to private enterprise?

            Because USPS has, by law, a monopoly on first class mail. No private company can compete. And the government is a large user of USPS for mandatory notices, so service to every individual is a necessity. Much more than gigabit internet is.

            We should liquidate the army and make everything private contractors.

            There is no reason not to in modern times, other than the ability to operate and enforce enlistment contracts under the UCMJ instead of civil law and courts.

            We should liquidate the free-way infrastructure

            You know, if cable internet was being provided to everyone who transited an area with no charge, and there were no significant physical limits to the existence of highways, then there would be an argument (and an analogy to public streets) to be made for government provided "free" internet. One cannot run four different freeways going from point A to point B without consuming a huge amount of land; four internet providers can easily co-exist on the public rights-of-way already being used.

            Lastly, unless government actively passes laws to cause advantage to themselves, how does government participation weaken free market commerce assuming its not a loss leading business unit?

            Your assumption is not valid, since were the service able to be self-supporting a private company would be doing it. This fact is also pointed out by the other response that admitted that it is not being done already because it is not economically viable.

            Additionally, even were the service not a "loss leader" today, it could easily become so without any negative consequences to the local government providing it. The government won't "go out of business" if the internet business loses money. They'll just dip into the general fund to pay the bills. Or, as our local government does, simply increase the taxes or fees levied on all of the residents to cover the increased costs, even if many of those residents never use the service. (Does the publicy-funded bus system need more money? Increase the "bus service fee" on the water bill!)

            And finally, because the government will be running the business ostensibly for no profit, any for-profit company providing exactly the same service cannot survive if they charge the same amount. They are at an unfair disadvantage because their prices must be higher. Either higher prices or less service -- why would someone buy from them when the gov'mint will do it for less money? And customers who do buy privately will not be part of the customer base for the government system, thus increasing the percentage of fixed costs that have to be passed on to the taxpayers.

            You ask a lot of questions about why we don't get rid of government this or government that. Why don't we just have government do everything we need and undercut every private company? Is there a reason why government isn't the provider of all goods and services in a free society?

            • Re:Don't let.. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by sjames ( 1099 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @08:15PM (#51711895) Homepage Journal

              Comcast was not a telco when it built out the cable infrastructure.

              Nevertheless, they got tax breaks, help with eminent domain, access to utility poles and a sweetheart monopoly franchise deal while building out.

              • access to utility poles and a sweetheart monopoly franchise deal while building out.

                Access to utility poles comes with a franchise and associated franchise fees. And in more than thirty years of experience with cable franchises, I've yet to see an exclusive franchise (a "sweetheart monopoly"), and despite repeated requests for a link to any, nobody has been able to show me one. Every time someone has claimed a certain municipality has given their cable company a monopoly, when I track down the franchise ordinance it has been non-exclusive.

                What "non-exclusive" means is that if you want to

                • by sjames ( 1099 )

                  Well, you certainly do live up to your name. Practically every cable TV operation has or had an exclusive franchise. Try Google but note that many local governments are loath to admit to something that smells that corrupt. I have never seen an area that actually had a choice of cable provider.

                  I have heard of a few rare places where there was no mandated exclusivity, but there was still no competition, even in border areas where the provider's cables were equidistant from a home.

                  • by Archfeld ( 6757 )

                    I lived in Contra Costa county in Nor-Cal, we've got 2 competing cable companies; Comcast and Wave, formerly Astound, in addition to the obvious satellite options. Not sure how Astound which is from St. Cloud MN, ended up in our area (Concord) but nowhere else around. It did result in a lower cost for Comcast and an ongoing battle between the 2 providers. YEAH for competition.

          • The USPS is a good example of a well run government agency. It completely funds itself. It has private sector competition as well. And yet the anti-government loons are still dedicated to having it dismantled.

            For those who hate government for being too big, the military is a great example. Over 50% of the US budget is for the military. The next largest slice is only about 6.5%. The military budget dwarfs that of other first world countries. And yet we have presidential candidates who seem to think ou

            • by tsqr ( 808554 )

              Over 50% of the US budget is for the military. The next largest slice is only about 6.5%.

              I'd like to see your source for that claim. this [nationalpriorities.org] shows that for Obama's 2016 budget, the military slice is 16%, at $634 billion. That puts it at a relatively distant third place behind Social Security, Unemployment and Labor (33%, $1.37 trillion) and Medicare and Health (27%, $1.1 trillion).

              • Wow, I was relying on that very chart below which I had seen on a different page by itself from nationalpriorities.org...
                Anyway, I still think we spend too much on the military. Very liberal too as it spends our hard earned tax dollars to give poor people jobs :-)

                • by tsqr ( 808554 )

                  Wow, I was relying on that very chart below which I had seen on a different page by itself from nationalpriorities.org...

                  Right, that's the "discretionary spending" part of the budget. By the way, the portion of the military budget (acquisitions) that supports private sector jobs is about $105 billion out of the $634 billion total.

            • No, the US does not [nationalpriorities.org] spend over 50% of its budget on military. Over 50% of the discretionary budget is military, but nearly two-thirds of the budget overall is mandatory spending.
        • Re:Don't let.. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Calydor ( 739835 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @07:02PM (#51711615)

          You seem to be missing a very big point here.

          There is no competition with private enterprise, because private enterprise has decided it's not cost-efficient to operate in that area - but they don't want anyone else operating there either, including the government.

          • You seem to be missing a very big point here.

            There is no competition with private enterprise, because private enterprise has decided it's not cost-efficient to operate in that area - but they don't want anyone else operating there either, including the government.

            Yes, because God forbid government could do something better or that we don't want to do.

          • There is no competition with private enterprise, because private enterprise has decided it's not cost-efficient to operate in that area - but they don't want anyone else operating there either, including the government.

            Today. It's not cost-effective to operate in an area today, but they'd like the option to roll out in that area if it does begin to look profitable. They know that it is nearly impossible to displace an incumbent provider, so the only way to preserve their option is to make sure that no one else (including government) installs a network. Courts and lobbyists are way cheaper than installing cable.

            • by Calydor ( 739835 )

              So what, the population should just sit in the dark ages twiddling their thumbs while they wait for a Big Provider to get off their ass?

          • Amen a thousand times over. This is the thing people are incapable of understanding. Places like Wilson, NC started their own broadband services because the commercial providers refused to work with them to improve their broadband. What they had was expensive and insufficient. How do you attract businesses to an area that does not offer a decent broadband service? Nothing changed until they decided to just implement their own. Of course, then the lobbyists convinced legislators to prevent others in th

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          We work together to form human societies the produce the best results for the majority of us. So where the fuck in that idea is the requirement to maximise corporations profits and everyone else's expense. You know where, abso-fucking-lutely know where. So this is just pure psychopathic capitalism whose only focus is to empower and enrich psychopaths so that they can more readily prey upon the rest of us. Compete with private, WTF?, screw private if it doesn't provide us with the solutions our working toge

          • A lot of this is once faction of libertarian thinking. Not all of it, there are some very good and smart libertarians out there. But there is a faction that is focused almost totally on maximizing corporate profits and who find libertarianism as the closest political ally.

            Ie, the Koch brothers are interested in no government interference in their business (very libertarian) but at the same time are not concerned much one way or the other about government interference in social freedoms. It's extremely ha

        • If the will of the people, decided by a legal and fair vote, is to have municipal broadband then that should take precedence no matter what the corporate leaders or ideologues think. If you despise government then you can take it away from yourself only as long as you don't manage to take it away from others who want it. Whether or not a municipal broadband is a mistake, it is still a democratic mistake that they have the right to make.

          If the federal government has too broad a reach then some people will a

        • I agree if we are talking about tax money being used. Taxpayer subsidies undermine the free market and ultimately undermine the service being offered if those services are competing with other public priorities for tax dollars instead of being supported by the fees paid by customers.

          That said it seems there should be a way to get loans to build out fiber without needing billions in wall street investment. Regulations are taylor made to the business model of needing large scale capital investment on spe

        • "If there were enough people in this community that want gigabit broadband to make it viable, some company would do it."

          No, due to high startup costs, 1 comany would offer overpriced Internet no matter what the demand was for and in a fashion that only maximizes profits. Internet NEEDS to be a utility for the same reason why basic water needs to be a utility.

          Capitalism is great except for the million ways it fails do to anything it promises, and is at its worst when there is no competition.

          This is one of th
      • States Rights (small government) = I don't like what the Fedral government is doing

        Federal supremecy = The sates are preventing us from doing what we want

      • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

        Let's not confuse monopolies with normal free enterprise. These two companies are acting in a monopolistic manner, and deserve to be slapped down. There's no logical, moral, or socially just reason for their position. And for whatever it's worth, I'm saying this as a conservative.

        Since the loss of the Microsoft trial in '98, the feds have done little to prevent monopolistic behavior. There is no free enterprise when you have a monopoly, and I'm all in favor of busting them up, or in the case of utilitie

      • Umm, sorry, but you're an idiot.

        No one wants the elimination of all government. How would "small government" benefit the parties involved in this case? Simple! By getting out of the way. A state law prohibited this smaller company from offering their services to interested customers. A smaller government wouldn't even have such laws on the books. The solution is getting rid of that law, aka smaller government.

    • by dbreeze ( 228599 )

      http://movetoamend.org/action [movetoamend.org] I'm just going to lightly spam this link around here. I urge everyone to at least put your name behind a cause for needed change because venting in web forums may educate but it won't have a direct influence. If movetoamend.org could go to the media and/or political machine with 30-50 milion signatures ready to vote around this cause, they'll have some influence.

    • Rep. Blackburn is the worst. She's in the district to the west of me and I hate everything her stupid mouth says that ruins every other county here in Tennessee, but just as well, she's from Williamson County and of course, they think they rule the whole flipping state. With the majority of money in the state of Tennessee locked in that single county, they basically sit there and dictate the state of affairs here in Tennessee. It's no surprise that Blackburn is up there spouting off crap to make every ot
    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
      It's unfortunate that few in the media are willing to describe it as corruption, when it's hard to see how it isn't.
  • by ITRambo ( 1467509 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @05:38PM (#51711109)
    So, states want "rights" over local broadband, instead of letting the feds tell them what to do. But, they won't give control over to the even smaller local governments, the ones that people interact with the most. This makes no sense. Corruption, and lobbyist buying of laws that protect themselves, needs to stop. Local governments should have the right to compete with overpriced ISPs.
    • by AlejoHausner ( 1047558 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @06:51PM (#51711567) Homepage
      The phrase "states' rights" is actually a codeword for "Jim Crow": slave-owning states argued before the civil war that the federal government had no authority to interfere in their business. This cynical appeal to the constitution is still very much in use today. In fact, it's being used sotto-voce to justify opposition to all sorts of things that would benefit poor African-Americans: obamacare, higher minimum wages, etc. ATT and Comcast know that this phrase will get them enormous support in southern states. Wow. What an evil marriage of redneck prejudice and corporate corruption.
      • by swb ( 14022 )

        I love how people want to give benefits to poor people, but only if they're African American.

        • by dywolf ( 2673597 )

          Given that the two groups are largely the same, your argument fails, and is also an example of some epic level projection.

          And yes, opposition to social programs that predominately benefit minorities, because low income/poor people are predominately minorities, is in fact the most frequent example of modern racism.

          You start out in 1954 by saying, “***, ***, ***.” By 1968 you can’t say “***”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites. “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “***, ***.” -- Lee Atwater, 1981

          http://www.thenation.com/artic... [thenation.com]

          To be absolutely clear, I want benefits for all persons living here.
          But when earning enough to be part of the top 1% of African Americans still means being only in

      • I really despair at the deficiency of our education system.

        Tenth Amendment to the Constitution

        The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

        Now, I have to ask, just how do you figure cable companies are oppressing black people ? Or is this just something you reflexively use ?

        • No no no. That's not at all what I was talking about. I guess the topic is pretty inflammatory, and I didn't do a good job of saying what I meant.

          Of course states are free to set their own laws, according to the 10th ammendment. My point is that "states' laws" has come to mean more than just the fact that states have rights to set their laws. It's a cryptic way to talk about the power of whites over blacks. Look at wikipedia's page on Lee Atwater, a Republican strategist who used just such language t

          • Don't worry, you're not wrong. It's just hard to say it right, and the best lies are always tightly intertwined with something good.

            Yes, there's a wink-wink association with cries for "state's rights" and Jim Crowe, but now it's being used for a lot of other stuff, not just knee-jerk dog-whistle issues. And political professionals, influence peddlers, high-priced consultants know this, because, well, that's their job. It ain't a tin-foil hat conspiracy... public relations and political professionals make

            • Yeah that's because nobody should be upset by ridiculous travesties like this

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

              Use of the interstate commerce clause to control what happens entirely on a farm.

              Your attitude is why we can't have nice things like a constitution, or a legal system that the common man can use to protect himself.

      • by vm146j2 ( 233075 )
        You have it a little backwards; pre-civil war the slave states were against states rights as that implied the ability for states to allow escaped slaves to exist in relative freedom in the North. They depended on the strong federal government to defend the slavery laws which were embodied in the constitution, (as well as the national tariffs that protected the cotton growers from competition.) It wasn't even talked about much once the Union occupation / reconstruction ended, since Jim Crow was tolerated o
    • It's only like that now because this particular brand of politician (guess!) don't completely control the Federal government yet. Once they have that, everyone under them could simply be prevented from writing their own laws on whatever issues an industry pays to have ignored, be they states, counties, cities, towns, Native American Nations, whatever.

      It's the same story with LGBT civil protection laws. In Republican states, cities can't write their own, and the state complains about and campaigns against an

      • I want to say it'll be illegal to complain after that. I wouldn't put it past them...

        I wouldn't either [wikipedia.org]

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        There are often good reasons for state preemption of laws. Would you want traffic laws that vary from city to city, so that you would be vulnerable to prosecution because it would be impossible to know every municipal variation in traffic laws?

        It can also wreak havoc for people or businesses that operate in multiple places in a single state, and can open the door to jurisdiction shopping to sue where the laws are most favorable even though the specific offense may not be based there.

        • It can also wreak havoc for people or businesses that operate in multiple places in a single state,

          Oregon just passed a higher minimum wage law that is different depending on where you are in the state. This is already raising the question of what a state university that has employees spread out around the state will have to do. Does everyone doing the same job at today's minimum wage get paid the same new minimum wage (the highest one) no matter where they live, or can they have different wages? How will the unions respond to that?

          And then, how do the differing minimums apply to any proportional raises

        • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

          The default for right turns in NYC is that it's illegal on red. There are two intersections in the entire city with explicit signs to allow it. The default outside of NYC is the opposite.

          You may need to pick a better example.

          • by swb ( 14022 )

            Well, that's how it is in Minnesota, and the logic of statewide uniformity was part of the State Supreme Court's decision outlawing red light cameras in this state.

    • But, they won't give control over to the even smaller local governments,

      Of course they've given control over to the local governments. Local governments are the ones who create the franchise rules they expect private companies to live by. What local governments aren't being allowed to do is create rules for private companies that they themselves can simply ignore to the detriment of the companies.

      Local governments should have the right to compete with overpriced ISPs.

      Why? Shouldn't the right to compete belong to a company that isn't overpriced, instead of shutting out all other competition by running the service with taxpayer dollars? And why is th

    • by dbreeze ( 228599 )

      http://movetoamend.org/action [movetoamend.org] Sign on help us do something about it.

  • by linuxguy ( 98493 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @05:43PM (#51711141) Homepage

    Why is that every time you hear these oppressive state laws being made, it is usually safe to assume that it is happening in a Red State? How is it that the Republicans, the champions of liberty and freedom that they are, allowing this to go on?

    I live in Oregon. You can buy as many Teslas here as you can afford. And we have a few community broadband networks too. Sandynet is one example that offers 1Gbps service to local residents. And there is no law preventing more from being setup.

    • by rsborg ( 111459 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @05:51PM (#51711203) Homepage

      Why is that every time you hear these oppressive state laws being made, it is usually safe to assume that it is happening in a Red State? How is it that the Republicans, the champions of liberty and freedom that they are, allowing this to go on?

      I live in Oregon. You can buy as many Teslas here as you can afford. And we have a few community broadband networks too. Sandynet is one example that offers 1Gbps service to local residents. And there is no law preventing more from being setup.

      According to this Ars article:
      http://arstechnica.com/tech-po... [arstechnica.com]

      You need to blame the ALEC [wikipedia.org]. ie, the corporatist takeover group that's metastasized since Citizens United.

      Red, Blue, all fair game for the corporatists.

      Alabama: Municipal communications services must be self-sustaining, "thus impairing bundling and other common industry marketing practices." Municipalities cannot use "local taxes or other funds to pay for the start-up expenses that any capital-intensive project must pay until the project is constructed and revenues become sufficient to cover ongoing expenses and debt service."

      Arkansas: Only municipalities that operate electric utilities may provide communications services, but they aren't allowed to provide "basic local exchange service," i.e. traditional phone service.

      California: Public entities are generally allowed to provide communications services, but "Community Service Districts" may not if any private entity is willing to do so.

      Colorado: Municipalities must hold a referendum before providing cable, telecommunications, or broadband service, unless the community is unserved.

      Florida: Imposes special tax on municipal telecommunications service and a profitability requirement that makes it difficult to approve capital-intensive communications projects.

      Louisiana: Municipalities must hold referendums before providing service and "impute to themselves various costs that a private provider might pay if it were providing comparable services."

      Michigan: Municipalities must seek bids before providing telecom services and can move forward only if they receive fewer than three qualified bids.

      Minnesota: 65 percent of voters must approve before municipalities can offer local exchange services or operate facilities that support communications services.

      Missouri: Cities and towns can't sell telecom services or lease telecom facilities to private providers "except for services used for internal purposes; services for educational, emergency, and health care uses; and 'Internet-type' services."

      Nebraska: Public broadband services are generally prohibited except when provided by power utilities. However, "public power utilities are permanently prohibited from providing such services on a retail basis, and they can sell or lease dark fiber on a wholesale basis only under severely limited conditions."

      Nevada: Municipalities with at least 25,000 residents and counties with at least 50,000 residents may not provide telecommunications services.

      North Carolina: "Numerous" requirements make it impractical to provide public communications services. "For example, public entities must comply with unspecified legal requirements, impute phantom costs into their rates, conduct a referendum before providing service, forego popular financing mechanisms, refrain from using typical industry pricing mechanisms, and make their commercially sensitive information available to their incumbent competitors."

      Pennsylvania: Municipalities cannot sell broadband services if a "local telephone company" already provides broadband, even if the local telephone company charges outrageously high prices or offers poor quality service.

      South Carolina: The state "requires governmental providers to comply

      • by linuxguy ( 98493 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @06:27PM (#51711439) Homepage
        Your list mostly contains red states. The very few blue states on that list are not half as bad. Case in point:

        California: Public entities are generally allowed to provide communications services, but "Community Service Districts" may not if any private entity is willing to do so. Texas: The state "prohibits municipalities and municipal electric utilities from offering telecommunications services to the public either directly or indirectly through a private telecommunications provider."

        See the difference?

        Long time ago, I received two job offers at about the same time. One from Texas and one from Oregon. Not knowing enough about Texas, I seriously considered moving there. I think I dodged a bullet there.

        • Do I see a technical difference? Yes.

          Is there an actual difference? No.

          Just about anywhere where private companies do not provide service, there is not going to be a public utility to provide service. These are going to be exceedingly rural areas with such a low population density and/or awful terrain that no company will put any infrastructure in. These people are going to have to rely on mobile or satellite communications 99/100. It sucks, and I definitely am "pro-utility internet", but it's such a
        • by rsborg ( 111459 )

          Your list mostly contains red states. The very few blue states on that list are not half as bad. Case in point:

          California: Public entities are generally allowed to provide communications services, but "Community Service Districts" may not if any private entity is willing to do so.
          Texas: The state "prohibits municipalities and municipal electric utilities from offering telecommunications services to the public either directly or indirectly through a private telecommunications provider."

          See the difference?

          Long time ago, I received two job offers at about the same time. One from Texas and one from Oregon. Not knowing enough about Texas, I seriously considered moving there. I think I dodged a bullet there.

          I hear ya. However, ALEC and other corporate vehicles of domination don't rest and will slowly destroy all states ability to govern unless it benefits their corporate masters. Until we solve the problem of money controlling elections, you're going to see more and more of what Comcast and AT&T pulled off in Tennessee - even in blue states. It's like an infection - you cant just play Prince Prospero and try to hole up in your blue fortress away from the disease - it is coming unless we remove the cond

        • I think I dodged a bullet there.

          Having lived in Texas there is more truth in that statement than you probably intended.

      • by dbreeze ( 228599 )

        http://movetoamend.org/action [movetoamend.org] I humbly beseech any and all desiring to play a part in combating the domination of corporations over our individual and collective lives to diligently research movetoamend.org , and perchance lend your good name to the cause.

      • by rabbin ( 2700077 )
        More on ALEC http://billmoyers.com/segment/... [billmoyers.com]
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @06:02PM (#51711291) Homepage Journal
      The maps of the US over the years tend to show the city and state blocking lobbyist handiwork.
      133 US cities now have their own broadband networks (Mar 24, 2011)
      http://arstechnica.com/tech-po... [arstechnica.com]
      Municipal fiber needs more FDR localism, fewer state bans ( Jan 7, 2010)
      http://arstechnica.com/tech-po... [arstechnica.com]
      and the efforts some states have to remove the bans
      Colorado’s muni broadband ban overridden in 44 communities (Nov 6, 2015)
      http://arstechnica.com/busines... [arstechnica.com]
    • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @06:17PM (#51711377) Journal

      How is it that the Republicans, the champions of liberty and freedom that they are, allowing this to go on?

      I hope you were being sarcastic here? Otherwise, I have both a bridge and some fine land in Florida to sell you.

      This highlights the real problem: Both parties have been captured and serve the interests of the super-wealthy now. Look at how the justice department under Obama gave a complete pass to the architects of the 2008 crash.

  • Regulatory Capture (Score:5, Interesting)

    by headkase ( 533448 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @05:53PM (#51711221)

    It's called: Regulatory Capture [wikipedia.org], and it is a failure mode in government.

    • Indeed. If I lived in one of the affected states it'd be something I'd be pushing my local congress on.

      It's one thing to drive a competitor bankrupt via being better at it. It's quite another to use regulations to ban competition at all.

      And, as far as I'm concerned, if you manage to piss off the locals enough that a majority votes to form a cooperative* or such to compete with you, you've done screwed up so bad that I don't have an ounce of sympathy for you.

      • It's one thing to drive a competitor bankrupt via being better at it. It's quite another to use regulations to ban competition at all.

        And what is it when a government can drive a private company bankrupt by cutting prices for equivalent service, because the government has the taxpayer's general fund to absorb any temporary (or long term) losses and no need to make a profit to pay back the investors?

        In business-land, large companies who move into an area and drive their competition out of business by charging below cost are guilty of dumping. Should government be allowed to that?

        • In business-land, large companies who move into an area and drive their competition out of business by charging below cost are guilty of dumping. Should government be allowed to that?

          1. The local government isn't "moving into the area". It's already there. Also, in this case the "taxpayer's general fund" is coming out of the investor's pockets, IE the same citizens that started up the cooperative.
          2. If, like I said, you manage to piss off the locals enough that they willingly vote for a bond issuance to fund the startup of a competing cooperative, that means that you done screwed up(to put it politely), and I have no sympathy for you. Because it usually means that you've been rapin

          • 1. The local government isn't "moving into the area". It's already there.

            They are moving into a new venture, which makes them a new competitor. The "moving into the area" part of the "dumping" issue is irrelevant. I'm sorry you fixated on that.

            Also, in this case the "taxpayer's general fund" is coming out of the investor's pockets,

            Involuntary investors.

            2. If, like I said, you manage to piss off the locals enough that they willingly vote for a bond issuance to fund the startup of a competing cooperative, that means that you done screwed up(to put it politely)

            Most bond measures pass with a plurality that consists of a minority of the voters. Getting one more than half of a 25% turnout means that you only had approval from 12% of the registered voters, and since there are people who are not registered you've got a lot less than 12% of the taxpayers.

            That's if there's a bon

            • They are moving into a new venture, which makes them a new competitor. The "moving into the area" part of the "dumping" issue is irrelevant. I'm sorry you fixated on that.

              Okay, fine. I'll broaden my scope: Competition is good. Companies are not guaranteed a profit, are not to be granted a guarantee that they will break even. Survival of the fittest.

              Involuntary investors.

              I did specify a vote, remember? One might as well complain about losing the vote about funding parks, schools, fire departments, police departments, and other public services. Actually, no. Most people get LESS of a vote on that stuff.

              Most bond measures pass with a plurality that consists of a minority of the voters. Getting one more than half of a 25% turnout means that you only had approval from 12% of the registered voters, and since there are people who are not registered you've got a lot less than 12% of the taxpayers.

              As somebody who votes every election, even if it has to be absentee, let me get my violin

  • Local democracy is preferable to federal because it's less corrupt right?

    • Local democracy is preferable to federal because it's less corrupt right?

      No, because it's more responsive to local demands and conditions. For example, imagine the feds imposing the same water restrictions whether you live in Washington State with water running out it's ears, and Nevada or California with critical shortages.

  • I have municipal run gigabit internet and it's by far the best internet service I've ever had. Cheap ($50/month), fast, reliable, great customer service, and great installers.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by fullback ( 968784 )

      You must tell us where you are, so the convenience police can come and put a stop to it immediately!

    • by eWarz ( 610883 )
      My city (in TN) is growing so fast they don't have housing for everyone. rekt?
  • by fulldecent ( 598482 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @06:22PM (#51711407) Homepage

    Clearly we need to ignore these laws and simply provide a "sharing" computer connection.

    This new service is not marketed as internet, because it is SHARING. And old laws don't apply to new things.

  • If you look up "regulatory capture" in the dictionary, it has a picture of our state legislature...

    There are *so* many things which a majority of Tennesseans are clamoring for (wine in supermarkets, medical marijuana, fiber broadband) but we can't get passed the legislature because some random dumb-ass politician feels it "violates their morals" (or the wallet of their big campaign contributors).

    We desperately need a public referendum system which the legislature *must* act upon, because Tennessee is being

  • cut up into 13 pieces? Crap like this is why we need a Federal gov't. It's too easy for the Mega corps to buy off individual states one at a time....
  • Which country was it? Mexico or Canada?

  • ...at trying to reign in the corporations, I'd recommend giving this group a look and lending your support as able.

    http://movetoamend.org/action [movetoamend.org]

  • As someone who lives in a certain large-ish city in TN, feel free to let this dumbass law scare you FAR FAR away from TN. Please don't come here (we already have enough morons moving here as it is), you'll be stuck on dial-up if you do *goes back to his Comcast 300 meg uncapped cable connection and stares at the Google Fiber hut a mile from his house*
  • When you see state laws like this that propagate throughout the states and usually supported by Republican politicians throughout the states you can attribute it to ALEC [alecexposed.org] ALEC is a forum where conservative politicians and big business and interest groups rub together and create legislation (model legislation) for the benefit of those big businesses and interest groups.
  • Big company says NEW SKUB IS BAD. ONLY OUR OLD SKUB IS GOOD. Why is the next step not "Let the citizens decide whose skub to use?" or better yet, let both skubs co-exist and create healthy competition? The entire US is fucked backwards when it comes to this shit... instead of bending over backwards for corporations, they should start bending over backwards to the people buying the shit from the corporations allowing them to exist in the first place.

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.

Working...