Incumbent providers, grown lazy on a steady diet of public subsidies and monopoly rents, have done their best to cast this as a debate between efficient private competitors and inefficient government monopolies. But it is the incumbents that would rather regulate than compete. They resist municipal entry not because it is incompetent – no one resists incompetent competitors – or because it is unnecessary. Rather incumbents resist municipal entry because they recognize the ability of local government to offer a genuine competitive alternative to a high priced monopoly or duopoly services.
Jim Baller Discusses Municipal Broadband History - Community Broadband Bits Episode #57
Jim Baller has been helping local governments to build community owned networks for as long as they have been building them. He is the President of and Senior Principal of the Baller Herbst Law Group in Washington, DC. Jim joins us for Episode #57 of the Community Broadband Bits[/glossary] podcast to discuss some of the history of community owned networks.
Jim has a wealth of experience and helped in many of the most notable legal battles, including Bristol Virginia Utilities and Lafayette.
We start by noting some of the motivations of municipal electric utilities and how they were originally formed starting in the late 19th century. But we spend the bulk of our time in this show focusing on legal fights in the 90's and early 2000's over whether states could preempt local authority to build networks.
In our next interview with Jim, we'll pick up where we left off. If you have any specific thoughts or questions we should cover when we come back to this historical topic, leave them in the comments below or email us.
You can learn more about Jim Baller on his website at Baller.com.
We want your feedback and suggestions for the show - please e-mail us or leave a comment below. Also, feel free to suggest other guests, topics, or questions you want us to address.
Thanks to Break the Bans for the music, licensed using Creative Commons.