Minnesota Lawmakers Seek to Ban Community Broadband

It seems like state legislators are lining up to pass legislation designed to protect the interests of corporations in the business of providing broadband services. Minnesota is the latest state to offer legislation meant to forbid community broadband projects, joining states like Georgia and North Carolina. The bill before lawmakers in Minnesota, "HF 2695," specifically bars any community from building a broadband network within the state. Meanwhile the companies that provide broadband in the state – CenturyLink and Mediacom – are refusing to expand their networks to underserved and unserved areas within the state.

While the Minnesota Cable Communications Association (MCCA), a trade group representing the industry in the state claims that they are not behind the bill before lawmakers, activists have their doubts. Even if they aren't the passage of such a bill would be a gift the industry who does not want to compete with broadband run by towns and cities because it would most likely be cheaper.

"I would expect a bill by MCCA to be more strategic, refusing to admit they wanted to revoke all authority outright," Christopher Mitchell, Telecom Researcher at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance wrote on the Community Broadband Networks site. "Nonetheless, this bill is still a giant gift to the incumbent cable operators in the state."

A recent post on community action group Stop the Cap! revealed that Georgia's bill has been effectively shelved by being turned into what is called a "study bill." If you are a citizen of one of the many towns not served by a broadband service provider, it would probably be in your best interest to ask your state representative not to vote for this bill.

Source: Fierce Telecom

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  1. 0
    tallimar says:

    a politician writing a law that gives huge hand-outs to big business?  who would possibly think that a big business would be behind that?


  2. 0
    GrimCW says:

    that and they must be running their own servers too.

    Must not be like the public access network we have in the cities around me (not in my area, to remote….) where verizon and Frontier control those networks and charge either by the day or month.

  3. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    So, wait a sec, it's cheaper, therefore they're forcing you to use it, despite that the more expensive option is still there.


    What, the, fuck

  4. 0
    james_fudge says:

    It is funny how one delusional person continues to claim a bias where there is none. According to Andrew Eisen, the bill's authors are Linda Runbeck (R) and Mary Kiffmeyer (R). Now what do you have to say about it?

     The reason we did not include this in the story? Because being bought and paid for by corporations is a bipartisan effort. So enough with the stupidity already.

    Thank You.

  5. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    Can't we just be against the bill REGARDLESS of who is behind it or their political affiliations?

    If it was a conservative or a republican doing this and GP dared mention it you would accuse them of bashing republicans.


    Give it a rest or take it somewhere else.

  6. 0
    Hevach says:

    The process is pretty simple, and it's the same one that's been used over recent years to fight health care reform, to kill the tire safety laws, to get rid of home heating tax credits, and to reduce funding to free school lunch programs for poor children.

    I can't find much direct information on the rhetoric involved in Minnesota, but Michigan had the same debate and the rhetoric was pretty boilerplate: Community broadband is communism. It's big government doing things that private enterprise should do. It's government competing with businesses. And because it's going to be priced much cheaper than for-profit corporate services, it's not adding choice, but forcing you to use the cheaper option. Forcing your children to use a government controlled service, taking away your power as a parent to control your childrens' internet.

    And so forth, the logic chain is as politically effective as it is completely ridiculous.

  7. 0
    Dan says:

    I'm not seeing anything abut this in either the Star Tribune or Pioneer Press. Figures they'd gloss over the important issues.

    What kind of crazy Randian 'Evil-Interfereing-Government' thought process could prompt such a bill?


    Of all the idiotic legislative ideas, this is THE. WORST. POSSIBLE. THING.


  8. 0
    GrimCW says:

    whoa slow down there! not everyone has access to broad band?! you don't say?!

    and here other big companies like Ubisoft are trying to vamp up their DRM under the assumption we all do!

    tbh it doesn't surprise me that the governments in some areas are trying to bolster the sales for the bigger cable/phone companies. Typical politicians, with their hands rather deep into corporate pockets. But i supposed bigger campaign budgets does mean they get more publicity next round.

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