This is great news. Perhaps the corporate titans really can be challenged – and successfully. Perhaps the people and the politicians really can work together for the broad public interest.
The steps in that direction is President Barack Obama coming out yesterday in favor of publicly-owned fiber networks for broadband and other services. He spoke at Cedar Falls, Iowa within the headquarters of the town’s public utility, which gives its residents a gigabyte a second cheap. Here’s a story about it: http://www.kcrg.com/subject/news/president-barack-obama-pushing-expanded-broadband-in-cedar-falls-today-20150114
This is big. He’s directly taking on the telecomm companies. He is echoing FDR, who took on the private electric companies in the 1930s and called for public power and cooperative companies. I wouldn’t be surprised if Cedar Fall’s public power company dates to then. He also may polarize Republicans, even though Iowa’s Republican governor is a big supporter of what Cedar Falls is doing.
We may see history repeat itself in that rural areas, who have public municipal fiber networks, end up with better and cheaper internet services (and other services) than people in big cites. That’s what happened with public power.
I recommend watching the video at the top of the story. Good clips of the president’s speech, and good summary of issue. Obama will be raising this issue in his state of the union speech.
Here’s the Times story, which I just found.
Note the non-logic of the opponents. Government is less efficient than private providers – so therefore we must prohibit government from doing this! And how telling that Michael Powell, the former head of the FCC under Bush and Colin Powell’s son, is now head of the national cable providers association, which of course opposes public broadband with a vengeance.
I can take some pleasure in perhaps being part of the pin-pricks that got Obama to take this position. Who knows, maybe an aide of his read my Governing column 18 months ago on this. http://bit.ly/1h73oSP
Who Should Control Broadband? Governing Magazine, April 2013
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