Friday, June 24, 2011
Rest Assured They'll Be More Fights in This Battle
Community Internet vs. AT&T in Wisconsin. (Save the Internet, 6/21/2011)
Excerpt: WiscNet and allies again rallied and pulled WiscNet back from the hangman's noose. But the legislature couldn't let AT&T go home empty-handed, so they gave WiscNet two years to convince the legislature to let it live. And while today's stimulus funds were saved, UW cannot accept future grants to improve Internet access without approval from Madison. The bill now sits on Governor Walker’s desk awaiting signature.
This fight in Wisconsin was just one of many in state houses across the nation this year. The Time Warner Cable anti-municipal broadband bill in North Carolina was the most prominent example, but South Carolina and Arkansas also had incumbents pushing to limit public broadband — the only real threat of competition those networks face. Positive legislation in Tennessee, Washington, and New Hampshire was killed by powerful incumbents including Comcast, AT&T, and others. These companies are increasingly bold about limiting community networks that put community needs first.