This Election, Take Muni Broadband Fight to Statehouses

In the land that gave the world the Internet, it’s amazing that so many other countries in the world have better, faster broadband. Yet we’ve legislated public Internet networks out the picture in some states. A handful of people hinder millions from the potential benefits of muni broadband.

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Stop! Enough already! The FCC tried to beat the states in the courts, but that didn’t work. It’s time this election cycle to take the hardball politics to the state legislative arena where the source of the problem originated.

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donttread-econdev-yellow1Communities – support your allies, convert opponents to allies, support your opponents’ opponent. And this doesn’t end in November. Cities need to develop strategies and tactics to establish legislative policies and support even in states that have no restrictions on muni broadband.

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My update to “How to Navigate, Mitigate or Eliminate the Impacts of State Restrictions on Public Broadband” offers recommendations you should read. Legislators such as Tennessee’s Janice Bowling and Kevin Brooks, Alabama’s Tom Whatley and others from both sides of the aisle need your help. The incumbents, the true source of these anti-muni network laws, are powerful. But the battles to important give up.

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21 states have laws hindering or restricting public networks. Fortunately only about half of the states have laws that are real deal killers, which I outline in the original report and this update. A lot of them, frankly, are best left in place. The rest are outright bans or onerous legislative minefields.
Do what you can in these remaining weeks of the election cycle, but definitely put legislators on notice that you’re tired of them doing the incumbents’ bidding at the expense of constituents. And what the hell, you might even replace one or two legislators with ones who will be more supportive of community broadband.

Several suggestions address how you can get better broadband through the fine art of coalition building and horse-trading. Take note, though, my report does warn several other states to be wary because incumbents have tried to get restrictions passed elsewhere.

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