August 3, 2005

Making municipal wireless impossible

Broadband Internet access has come up a few times at Town Board meetings in the last few months, largely because of Time-Warner's push to get a contract signed with the town. Town Councilman Marty Christofferson has been especially interested in making sure the town keeps its options open as network technology, particularly wireless technology, evolves.

While the discussion's never gotten as far as whether this is something the town would build or simply support, the phone and cable companies seem intent on making sure it's something the town (and other municipalities around the country) can't do. After Philadelphia pushed through a municipal wireless plan, Verizon pushed the Pennsylvania legislature to prohibit further such developments, and now there's a federal proposal to keep municipalities from providing broadband services.

I'm not sure where I stand on the wisdom of having the town build this kind of infrastructure, but I'm reasonably certain that I don't appreciate having the federal government say that municipalities can't do it. If this passes (which seems unlikely now, fortunately), maybe next they'll force municipalities to sell off their water, sewer, and other public utilities.

Posted by simon at August 3, 2005 10:04 PM in ,
Note on photos