Thursday, February 17, 2005

Wi-Fi Networking News

If big business is against them municipal networks must be a good idea
Glenn Fleishman is on a roll
Let’s just cut to the chase: municipal networks must be a viable threat or why the pushback?: Why are incumbent telecommunications firms and cable operators so afraid of municipal networks? They must work or they wouldn’t be spending tens of millions of dollars in lobbying and advertising to fight them. You have the touching daily reports of Comcast and Verizon, just to take two examples from today’s New York Times, weeping over how the taxpayers’ dollars will be wasted, how the municipalities can’t possibly understand how hard it is to run networks—news flash: running an electrical utility is tough, too, fellas—and how the whole project will go down in flames.

It fills me with such civic virtue to know that giant telecommunications and cable firms are so full of ruth and kindness that they extend their gaze down to the level of mere towns and cities, their beneficent knowledge of business, ethics, and operational efficiency bestowed upon grateful citizens.
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A little thought experiment: let’s pretend broadband was electricity: The Previous Millennium Research Council today released a report that strongly opposes the entry of municipally owned entities into electrical power generation, distribution, and delivery. The PMRC’s report, sent out by telegraph to business centers around this great country, is dated Nov. 1895, although it will take several weeks for sufficient copies to be printed and distributed by rail to business centers.

Electricity is too important a resource for America’s future to be left in the hands of cities and towns, the council argues, which are inefficient enterprises that take profits from industry in their pursuit of ever-greater control of the flow of capital within their borders. “How big may these so-called public utilities grow in their efforts to stifle free enterprise and increase the size of government?” the report asks.