Public sector agencies are the nation’s largest telecom customers. A community with a population of 40,000 purchases an estimated $1.1 million dollars annually in telecom services – costs offset by use of I-Nets. Imagine the devastation on local budgets when state video franchising laws eliminate I-Nets as compensation for use of public right-of-way. It’s rumored that a cable operator can charge a California community $45,000 a month to use a thirty-drop I-Net that, prior to passage of the state video franchising law, had been part of payments for use of public rights-of-way.
Longmont: Beware the Robo-Calls From Mega-Corporations
Vince Jordan, an advocate for broadband competition in Longmont, Colorado, wrote the following op-ed for the local paper about the upcoming referendum 2A. He has given us permission to reprint it here.
“There you go again” (to quote President Ronald Regan).
Well, it has already started. The folks who spent almost a quarter of a million dollars in the elections two years ago to convince the citizens of Longmont that being able to take further advantage of the fiber network they already own and are using is too dangerous for them, are at it again. No doubt by now, many of you have received one if not multiple “robo-calls” trying to convince you that the City is going to raise your taxes as a result of a yes vote on 2A. The first three words of Ballot Issue 2A say, “Without raising taxes”, but, since the opponents of this ballot, (those being the two mega-corporations who stand to benefit from you voting against 2A), can’t come up with any good reasons against the measure, they are resorting to the tired old cry of “they are going to raise your taxes!”
Citizens of Longmont, from 1997 to 2005, we had the right to use the asset that the city owns, namely the fiber network, to the benefit of ALL of the businesses and citizens of Longmont. The same corporations that are trying to “buy” your vote again, as they successfully did in 2009 with their “No Blank Check” campaign, in 2005 were able to lobby for and buy a law that took away our right to fully utilize this city owned asset. What ballot issue 2A is asking is for the citizens of Longmont to take back a right they once had.
This fiber network, which is fully operational today and used by the city for city purposes, and in fact already benefits the citizens of Longmont to some degree by keeping city service communications cost low, can do so much more. Our fiber network can be used to enhance the three Es, Employment, Education and Entertainment, here in Longmont. Low cost communications is as much a necessity today as is low cost power and water. Longmont already benefits from the lowest power rates in the country and the best service. Why wouldn’t we want the same advantage in the communications network that serves our businesses, our schools and our homes? Do you really believe the opponents of this measure, the lawyers from Denver being paid for by Comcast and CenturyLink, (stated so in a recent Chamber of Commerce session by the very lawyer), and the folks from Colorado Springs being funded by the same organizations, REALLY have YOUR best interest at heart? Do you think these folks would even be here if they weren’t being paid by these corporations?
When the election was over in 2009 and we lost by a very slim margin and the city was then able to explain more clearly what we lost, many of you wrote to the editor of the paper stating that if you had known what the ballot issue was actually about, instead of the “No Blank Check” that you had been convinced it was about, you would have voted for it. Well, here is your second chance Longmont. Don’t let the two mega-corporations “buy” your vote with robo-calls and the mis-information mailings that will no doubt start this week. Be informed and take back the right you had to an asset that you already own, to the benefit f our businesses, our schools and ourselves.
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Robo Call graphic courtesy of Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com