I try not to soapbox politically too often on this site, but network infrastructure is one of my trigger topics, especially when business and politics meet preventing a level playing field and stifling competition.
The “municipal communications network and private telecommunications investment safeguards act” would seek to prevent other municipalities in Kansas from offering the same kinds of incentives Kansas City provided Google. Of course, the boilerplate goals of the bill all triumph protecting consumer interests, and providing services through “fair competition”, and letting the established ISP market decide what fair rates are for that service.
It would place severe limits on what the residents of a municipality might be able to decide for themselves in terms of building, improving, or investing in data services. Particularly disappointing as this is a debate which should be waged at the local level with so many communities under-served. That in the year 2014 the FCC still considers 3Mbps internet connections competitive on the world stage, and many people don’t even have access to that.
Which of course means that if this bill passes, precisely the opposite of its stated goals will happen. It’s only been in markets where Google has taken an interest in offering Fiber where we see other ISP’s stepping up to actually compete. I’m sure the people of Austin will appreciate what actual competition looks like as AT&T and Google duke it out in their city.
But money talks, and the people who would propose legislation like this obviously don’t have the consumer’s best interests in mind.