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BK Blog Post
Posted by Wade Rathke.
Wade Rathke is the founder of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) – a nationwide activist network engaged in community organizing.
New Orleans The FCC, thankfully, is moving forward on a new rule that many believe will preempt the fact that a patchwork quilt of legislation has emerged in twenty different states to block the efforts of cities to create their own broadband networks. We’ll watch closely how this developed. Susan Crawford, the Harvard professor, who I have often cited as an expert on internet access and the monopoly efforts of the big companies, has long argued that municipal systems may be the only way to really provide equitable and affordable, high quality internet, so this could be a breakthrough.
The map of the 20 states that currently effectively ban it, and the creative ways they do so, is an interesting look at the geography of monopoly power as it is exercised by Comcast, AT&T, Times-Warner, and their junior partners. Thanks to the work of Ars Technica we have a list, and here’s a quick summary of the twists and turns they have put in the way of cities wanting to break their stranglehold.
And then let’s don’t forget Alabama, Missouri, South Carolina, and Texas that essentially have just outlawed the ability of cities to do so without any bells and whistles or pretense that there’s an eye of the needle that the poor Joe might crawl through to get to internet heaven. To me this all reads like a snapshot of democracy perverted by money, the lobbyists who push it, and the monopoly companies that dole it out for their sole self-interest. This is a Hall of Shame list, where only money talks and low and moderate income people are forced on the other side of the equity and internet divide in service to profits and the politicians who hide behind the complexities with their hands out to the companies and their backs to the people.