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Rushe writes: "Chattanooga has the largest high-speed internet service in the US, offering customers access to speeds of 1 gigabit per second - about 50 times faster than the US average. The service, provided by municipally owned EPB, has sparked a tech boom in the city and attracted international attention."

Chattanooga's Electric Power Board has automatically upgraded connection speeds for customers at no charge each of the past four years. (photo: Shutterstock.com)
Chattanooga's Electric Power Board has automatically upgraded connection speeds for customers at no charge each of the past four years. (photo: Shutterstock.com)


US Telecoms Giants Call on FCC to Block Cities' Expansion of High-Speed Internet

By Dominic Rushe, Guardian UK

31 August 14

 

USTelecom wants to block expansion of popular networks in Chattanooga, Tennessee and Wilson, North Carolina

he US telecoms industry called on the Federal Communications Commission on Friday to block two cities’ plans to expand high-speed internet services to their residents.

USTelecom, which represents telecoms giants Verizon, AT&T and others, wants the FCC to block expansion of two popular municipally owned high-speed internet networks, one in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the other in Wilson, North Carolina.

“The success of public broadband is a mixed record, with numerous examples of failures,” USTelecom said in a blogpost. “With state taxpayers on the financial hook when a municipal broadband network goes under, it is entirely reasonable for state legislatures to be cautious in limiting or even prohibiting that activity.”

Chattanooga has the largest high-speed internet service in the US, offering customers access to speeds of 1 gigabit per second – about 50 times faster than the US average. The service, provided by municipally owned EPB, has sparked a tech boom in the city and attracted international attention. EPB is now petitioning the FCC to expand its territory. Comcast and other companies have previously sued unsuccessfully to stop EPB’s fibre optic roll out.

Wilson, a town of a little more than 49,000 people, launched Greenlight, its own service offering high-speed internet, after complaints about the cost and quality of Time Warner cable’s service. Time Warner lobbied the North Carolina senate to outlaw the service and similar municipal efforts.

USTelecom claims the FCC has no legal standing over the proposed expansions and does not have the power to preempt the North Carolina and Tennessee statutes that would prevent them.

“States have adopted a wide range of legislative approaches on how much authority they give local governments to build, own and operate broadband networks. Some states require an election or public hearings before a public project can move forward. Others ask for competitive bids, and still others put restrictions on the terms of service so the public entities bear the same regulatory burdens as private service providers,” said USTelecom.

“States are well within their rights to impose these restrictions, given the potential impact on taxpayers if public projects are not carefully planned and weighed against existing private investment.”

In January this year, the FCC issued the “Gigabit City Challenge”, calling on providers to offer gigabit service in at least one community in each state by 2015. The challenge has come amid intense lobbying from cable and telecoms firms to stop municipal rivals and new competitors including Google from building and expanding high speed networks.

In a statement EPB said: “Communities should have the right – at the local level – to determine their broadband futures.

“The private sector didn’t want to serve everyone, but public power companies like EPB were established to make sure that everyone had access to this critical infrastructure. ”


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+54 # Dust 2014-08-31 15:30
Big corporations love "the free market" when it suits them, but the second that someone can beat them at their own game they run screaming to federal regulators to protect their vested interests. The US has the slowest and most expensive Net access in the developed world, because large ISPs can't really compete, and make their money because of lobbyists who write favorable legislation to protect them.
 
 
+27 # Jim Young 2014-08-31 23:34
This applies here as well as it does where I first posted it, though this article used averages (Cattanooga municipal 50 times faster than average).

Using data from http://www.publicintegrity.org/2014/08/28/15404/how-big-telecom-smothers-city-run-broadband?utm_source=email&utm_campaign=watchdog&utm_medium=publici-email I made my own spreadsheet and calculated the cost and my own measure of "value" (cents per Mbps)

It seems Municipal broadband (Electric Power Board) in Chattanooga is 9-1/2 times faster than Comcast, and Comcast charges 15.57 times as much per Mbps.

No matter what else "piratizers" claim for value of their services, I want ALEC to back off their campaign to keep us from implementing our own "public utility" services that actually compare well with the 14 countries ahead of us in internet speed and cost. See the disgusting ALEC position at their own site, http://www.alec.org/task-forces/telecommunications-and-information-technology/municipal-broadband/
 
 
+9 # James38 2014-09-01 02:31
Thank you for this information, Jim.

The next thing we need to look at is our hugely overpriced cell phone services.

The two subjects, internet access and cell phone service are becoming more and more interrelated, and big companies such as ATT seem to be desperately trying to maintain their monopoly and control of pricing.

Do you, Jim Young, have any hard figures to support this idea?
 
 
0 # Jim Young 2014-09-01 14:33
Quoting James38:
Thank you for this information, Jim.

The next thing we need to look at is our hugely overpriced cell phone services.

The two subjects, internet access and cell phone service are becoming more and more interrelated, and big companies such as ATT seem to be desperately trying to maintain their monopoly and control of pricing.

Do you, Jim Young, have any hard figures to support this idea?



Sorry, I don't. My priorities are more at the roots of this corruption, dark money allowed by Citizens United, and protection of sustainable water, and the unsustainable bubble in "un"natural gas.
 
 
+12 # Nominae 2014-09-01 03:24
I write to "second" both Dust and Jim Young.

A search engine will verify the fact that, for instance, Japan has internet service that is *27* times faster than the fastest U.S. connection, and, as per normal, it is *also* FAR less expensive than U.S. service !

From the article above, check *this* hilarious gem from USTelecom:

“States are well within their rights to impose these restrictions, given the potential impact on taxpayers if public projects are not carefully planned and weighed against existing private investment.”

This threatening statement, obviously backing State Control is *so* vague that - when parsed to the photons of an atom - (other than cheering for State Control) says *exactly* NOTHING ! About ANYTHING !

This is an example of how Corporations maintain the power. A simple scare tactic that does not actually commit to saying *anything*, and most especially, nothing remotely or legally "actionable".
 
 
+13 # kalpal 2014-09-01 08:35
It must be made illegal to obstruct corporate exploitation of captive customers who suffer under and must live with incompetent and slow service. This nation is about corporations making massive profits and must never be about serving the voting public. Corporations must be allowed to prosper at the expense of captive customers. Its the American way.
 

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