BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: A concerning new development from Maine. Thanks to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance for raising this issue through this alert. ||
Bill Introduced in Maine Legislature to Limit Local Authority over Broadband Investment, from Community Broadband Networks:
Maine State Representative Nathan Wadsworth (R-Hiram) introduced a bill to revoke local authority over building Internet networks needed by local businesses and residents. The one-time Maine state ALEC chair introduced HP 1040 (also cross filed as LD 1516) to advantage the big cable and telephone monopolies.
This bill will introduce procedural hurdles to discourage local governments from investing in modern broadband networks, including public-private partnerships with companies rooted in Maine – like GWI. Little has changed since 2014, when Gizmodo rated Maine 49th in terms of broadband Internet service. Rather than finding ways to encourage investment, this bill would have the state actually slow it.
“This effort joins a national trend of big cable and telephone companies, like Time Warner Cable and FairPoint, leaning heavily on state legislatures to protect themselves from competition,” says Christopher Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Networks initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “Communities do not make these investments when they are well served. If big cable and telephone companies want to preserve market share, they should invest in better services rather than crony capitalist laws.”