Koch Brothers are cities’ new obstacle to building broadband

“The three Republican commissioners now in power at the FCC voted last week to erase the agency’s legal authority over high-speed Internet providers,” as Wired is reporting. “They claim that competition will protect consumers, that the commission shouldn’t interfere in the ‘dynamic internet ecosystem,’ and that they are ‘protecting internet freedom.’ Now that the vote is done, the agency has little to do but mess around with spectrum allocations. The mega-utility of the 21st century officially has no regulator.

“In the meantime, fed up with federal apathy and sick of being held back by lousy internet access controlled by local cable monopolies, scrappy cities around the US are working hard to find ways to get cheap, world-class fiber-optic connectivity. It’s always been an uphill climb, as the ‘incumbents’—giant carriers like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T—are constantly working behind the scenes to block competition. (Recently, Comcast spent nearly $1 million opposing a municipal-fiber vote in Fort Collins, Colorado. The company did not prevail, I’m happy to report.) But now there’s an additional obstacle: Powerful right-wing billionaires have joined the fight against municipal fiber efforts, using their deep pockets to fund efforts to block even the most commonsense of plans.

“Bad news for internet access—the Koch brothers are fighting low-cost open fiber nets.”

The full article is here.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

One thought on “Koch Brothers are cities’ new obstacle to building broadband”

  1. Well Jeff – we will have to just continue to fight harder recognizing that deep pocket corporate interests will actively oppose all public sector assistance to improve an affordable broadband service. Rancho Cucamonga in San Bernardino County has done a lot to establish control over their local broadband service. The FCC ruling just adds to the sense of urgency. Nevada City and Grass Valley should consider collaborating on a similar effort as both cities share a common interest in providing affordable broadband service to residents and businesses.

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