MunicipalBroadbandAdFlyer
ArsTechnica

The government is trying to take over the internet! Invasion! Get out of our lives!

How many times have we heard people claim that municipal broadband had no business being involved against private companies? Yet, in almost every instance, the cities are putting together municipal broadband plans due to those same private companies refusing to actually serve parts of the cities, leaving residents of those cities with little to no actual broadband services.

Over the last few years, even the most conservative, anti-government officials have realized that as residents of their areas inform them of their broadband horrors, the private sector is in fact leaving parts of the country behind so that the companies can simply serve the profitable areas.

Enter Cleveland, Tennessee….where most city officials have no interest in installing a municipal broadband network. Except, many residents are telling the officials that they can’t get even the most basic broadband offerings. Therefore, even though Cleveland, TN votes 75% Republican, officials suddenly realize that a municipal broadband network is not shockingly evil.

Commissioner Bill Winters … “I think the legislation in place is just to allow utilities like EPB and Cleveland Utilities to be able to assist in those underserved areas only.” He said the question was pushed at the forum by people who do not have service. “[AT&T and Charter] did not say they would provide it. I was listening for it. If they provide it, I’m not going to be for this legislation,” Winters said. – ClevelandBanner

Another Commissioner, Dan Rawls, echoed those same statements by noting his displeasure with government getting involved in broadband.

“I don’t think there are a lot of jobs the government should be involved in, but I also don’t think the public should be held hostage by certain entities, private or public, based on the fact they are going to pick and choose where they can provide coverage,” Rawls said. He said they have been able to “pick and choose” where to place service, denying areas where they claim they cannot recoup the costs.“Sometimes you need to provide coverage to the communities and at some point you’ll make a profit and in other places you may not make a profit,” Rawls said. – ClevelandBanner

Like most municipal broadband supporters, I have no issue with cities not installing municipal broadband networks if private companies are serving all parts of a city. We just don’t see many examples of cities being given full coverage. Of course, the companies get the full amount of tax benefits from local taxpayers.