S.C. stops the terror of municipal WiFi, saves corporations bottom line

Flickr User: pacunar

Big business wins in South Carolina. On Wednesday, June 27, 2012 law-makers passed a bill that would make it nearly impossible for towns to give its citizens taxpayer-funded public wifi.

The powers behind this legislation is American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and AT&T; Ars Technica writes that:

[ALEC is] a conservative think-tank that lobbies local, state, and federal representatives to push for bills and craft ideal draft legislation that are conducive to its values. On its website, ALEC says that cities should not be allowed to create broadband utilities in competition with private corporations.

"If municipalities are inclined to pursue broadband initiatives then certain safeguards must be put in place in order to ensure that private providers, with whom the municipality will compete with, are not disadvantaged by the municipality in the exercise of its bonding and taxing authority, management of rights of way, assessment of fees or taxes, or in any other way," the organization writes.

Ars Technica has the full write-up, including some links to a similar bill that passed in North Carolina and mounting pressure in most states to pass similar bills essentially banning municipalities from offering public Internet. However, South Carolina's law might be the worse since there is no "grandfather clause."

The bill waits for Governor Haley to sign, which of course she will. 

Chattanooga, TN created a city-wide gigabit Internet connection, the fastest residential connections to the Internet available nationally. This, in-turn, forced companies like Comcast to lower their prices and to upgrade their systems. Creating the best and fastest Internet access in the country has helped Chattanooga, since they flipped the city-wide Internet on companies like Amazon, Volkswagen, and other IT jobs have found a home there. 

Additionally, I'll point you over to Engadget who had a great write-up last year about why Europe's Internet is faster and cheaper than ours here in the states -hint, the Government(s) actually fostered competition instead of helping big corporations to shut it down.

Engadget video is below

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