Friday, January 31, 2014

Cable companies back bill to prohibit municipal broadband in Kansas -- the same old story

Google Fiber started in Kansas City Missouri, but it has spread to nearby communities in Kansas and there has been speculation that it might expand nation wide. Olathe, Kansas is to be the first Google Fiber community in Kansas.

Well, the cable companies don't like that so they have introduced a bill in the Kansas Legislature to prohibit cities from offering or partnering to offer Internet service.

The bill is called the "Municipal Communications Network and Private Telecommunications Investment Safeguards Act." Opponents suggest that it should have been called the "Incumbent Telecommunications Company Protection Act."

Congress attempted to create competition with the 1996 Telecommunications Act. This is just the latest in endless court and legislative battles waged by incumbent phone and cable companies to thwart the will of Congress and stifle competition.

(I worked on a municipal network in Hermosa Beach, California that was stopped in 2006 by pressure the local cable company put on the City Council).

Update 2/4/2014

Hearings on community broadband services bill have been postponed ( It sounds like they are getting some negative feedback, as well they should.