While Cox Communications can make rate decisions in a private conference room several states away, Lafayette conducts its business in an open forum, as it should. While Cox can make repeated and periodic requests for documents under the Public Records Law, it is not subject to a corresponding obligation – a “show me your plans, but don’t dare ask to see mine” mentality. Louisiana law limits the ability of a governmental enterprise to advertise, but nothing prevents the incumbent providers from spending millions of dollars in advertising campaigns. An important focal point of the legal challenges involved the right or ability of Lafayette to pledge assets of the utilities system as security for the bonds, something that the private corporations do all of the time without the slightest scrutiny. To be sure, the “playing field is not level,” but it is the government which is disadvantaged, not the private companies.
Even as the Internet is changing every aspect of our lives and communities, most Americans are intimidated by confusing jargon and misconceptions about Internet policy. We are developing a series of fact sheets that make these issues understandable to everyone.
We presently have six fact sheets, covering broadband, financing networks, wireless Internet, economic development benefits from community owned networks, and the public savings from community owned networks.
If you want to stay up to date with these fact sheets and other developments in community owned networks, subscribe to our one-email-per-week list. Once a week, we send out an update with new stories and resources.
Financing Municipal Networks
When a community decides it needs to establish its own publicly owned network infrastructure, one of the biggest challenges is financing the investment. Each community is unique but three main methods of financing are most popular. This fact sheet offers a quick look at these common approaches and provides real-world examples.
This is a handy resource for elected officials and activists that are confused by some of the jargon or just want to make sure they understand some key ideas around broadband and telecommunications.
Community Broadband and Economic Development
Community Broadband Networks have a very good track record in creating jobs. This fact sheet details where publicly owned network attracted new businesses or helped existing businesses to thrive.
Community Broadband and Public Savings
Though schools, libraries, and other community anchors need access to faster, more reliable networks, the big cable and telephone companies have priced those services so high that they are breaking the budget. But when communities create their own connections, affordable high capacity connections aren't the only benefits.
Wireless Internet 101
Wireless networks may appear to be magical, but are actually driving investment in fiber optic wires. This resource defines many terms, key points, common speeds, and offers insight into wireless technology and policy.
Community Broadband Preemption Fact Sheet
This 2 page fact sheet explores the issue of preemption - how at least 19 states have made it impossible or more difficult for communities to build their own networks. It includes some history, legal issues, and quotes from FCC Commissioners.