Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Time to punch the reset button on U.S. telecom infrastructure

AT&T, Comcast Kill Local Gigabit Expansion Plans in Tennessee | DSLReports, ISP Information: For some time now municipal broadband operator EPB Broadband (see our user reviews) has been saying that a state law written by AT&T and Comcast lobbyists have prevented the organization from expanding its gigabit broadband offerings (and ten gigabit broadband offerings) throughout Tennessee. These state laws currently exist in more than twenty states, and prohibit towns from deploying their own broadband -- or often even striking public/private partnerships -- even in cases of obvious market failure. A proposal that would have recently lifted this statewide restriction in Tennessee was recently shot down thanks to AT&T and Comcast lobbying. Even a new compromise proposal (which would have simply let EPB expand slightly in the same county where it is headquartered as well as one adjoining county) was shot down, after 27 broadband industry lobbyists -- most of whom belonging to AT&T and Comcast -- fought in unison to kill the proposal.
It's understandable the legacy telephone and cable companies want to keep out interlopers who might threaten their de facto monopolies for Internet service. The incumbent protectionism on display in Tennessee plays out in multiple states in the form of laws barring public sector involvement in telecom infrastructure projects or as this month in California and Kentucky, efforts to block fiber to the premise (FTTP) projects from gaining access to utility poles. This obstructionism isn't going to go away and requires a major reset in order for it to come to an end.

As I wrote in my recently issued eBook Service Unavailable: America's Telecommunications Infrastructure Crisis, the nation is already two decades behind where it should be relative to replacing its legacy metal wire telecom infrastructure with FTTP. The book proposes the federal government construct universal FTTP as public works. As roads and highway were to the 20th century, it's vital infrastructure for the 20th that's too important to be left in control of the legacy incumbents. It's time to punch the reset button so the United States can move forward to the future.

No comments:

Web Analytics