It is duplicitous to suggest that the incumbents represent the “free market” against “government-subsidized” municipal networks. Incumbents are incumbents precisely because they have had the weight and resources of government to back them up for years. Furthermore, they have had backing from those levels of government - the federal and state - which are least pervious to direct participation by local residents. Municipal networks, funded by the public and accountable to the public, represent a balance to the domination of telecommunications infrastructure by huge corporations which have long enjoyed substantial government subsidy. Banning or restricting municipal networks will end this effort to create a level playing field.
The Daily Show on FCC Commissioner's Comcastic Retirement
The Daily Show joined many others in being outraged at FCC Commissioner Baker leaving the FCC to work for Comcast-NBC a few months after approving the deal. That subject is toward the end of this four minute clip:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Well, That Was Fast - Comcast/NBC Merger|
I would be seriously surprised if investigations turned up any quid pro quo in this situation. The real problem is the revolving door in Washington, DC. I doubt that Commissioner Baker knew she would go to work for Comcast specifically after leaving the FCC, but you can be damn sure she knew she would eventually make a lot of money working for one of the large corporate interests on whose behalf she tended to advocate while on the FCC.
There are very real reasons why many people have lost faith in the idea government. The actions of people like Commissioner Baker are a significant part of it. Free Press is drawing attention to this matter and has warned against the revolving door for years.
Whether people will be sufficiently outraged to force a real change in DC remains to be seen but seems unlikely. This is yet another reason we seek and promote ways for communities to build their own networks -- communities that own the networks on which they depend are less reliant on policymakers in DC "getting it right." Local governments are far more accountable to constituents.
So while we try to fix DC, let's remember why more decisions should be made locally.