Joe Berkemeier at Joe's Web Compound sent an email to IBR to give a heads up on legislation that could impact Indiana's municipalities and their wireless networks. Hidden in a lengthy bill is a provision that some say could kill municipal efforts to provide broadband services. There has been little coverage of this issue, report the telecom blogs.
There's a lot of chat on municipal wireless blogs about a bill in the Indiana Senate (SB 245) that would prohibit Indiana towns from offering their own broadband services.Maybe linking to blogs such as http://muniwireless.com/municipal/watch/969 or http://www.wetmachine.com/totsf/item/406 would be best. Neither are Indiana blogs per se, however, but the issue would seem to have Indiana relevance.An analysis of the bill (is available) from http://www.baller.com/pdfs/Baller_Proposed_State_Barriers.pdf
To review: when last we left the state of Indiana, SBC had tried to use a pet Representative to introduce a stand alone bill effective barring muni broadband. To their surprise, it didn't get out of subcommittee, as lots of folks from rural areas and less desirable markets explained that if the law passed, they could not expect to see affordable broadband anytime soon. Without broadband, their economies stagnated and died. We closed with democracy triumphant. Repeat in 2005 in about a dozen other states.
But, like Jason, Chucky, or Jar-Jar Binks, the telco lobbyists and their wholly owned subsidiaries in the state legislature keep comming back for endless sequels. Once again, the forces of corporate welfare have learned from their previous mistakes and have unvieled their new tactic — trying to sneak these provisions through as part of larger telecom reform bills. SB 245 is over 100 pages long, with numerous complex provisions on hot button issues like pricing, redlining and local franchising. The few news stories about SB 245 have not even mentioned the anti-muni provisions.