Local governments do not favor themselves on taxes or right of ways or otherwise compete unfairly with incumbent telecommunications and incumbent cable companies. To the contrary, private incumbents enjoy a wealth of state and federal subsidies, guaranteed rates of return, regulated rates for pole attachments, etc. In addition, local telephone companies enjoyed years of regulated monopoly status to build positions of dominance they continue to enjoy. To pretend that these local incumbents, with their subsidies and regulated access, need to “level the playing field” to protect a “free market” against local government systems flies in the face of reality.
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.