A fight brews in Texas

Submitted by acohill on Sun, 03/20/2005 - 17:42

Save Muni Wireless is a Texas Web site set up to provide information about the fight brewing in the Texas legislature over municipal broadband. Like many other states, Texas has been targeted by the telcos--they want laws that take control of community futures away from the community and give it to the telcos.

Note that this is not really a true public sector vs. private sector fight. It's really about several large monopoly telecom providers that want to lock out both public sector investments as well as other competitors. How so? Many communities want to provision open access networks that would let local and regional private sector service providers come in and offer services in competition with the telcos and cable companies.

What's unfortunate is that there are so many legislators unwilling to do any due diligence on the topic. Among the myths be propogated by the phone companies is that "tax dollars" are going to be used for these projects. In twelve years of community telecom work, I've yet to see the first community suggest using tax dollars for any of these efforts, large or small. These projects would be funded with grants, bonds, and other non-tax sources, and the operation of the network would be funded by fees, not tax dollars.

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