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Georgia Bill Would Prohibit Subsidies For Municpal Broadband 321

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the just-watch-some-tee-vee dept.
McGruber writes "The Associated Press has the news that Georgia State Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers is sponsoring a bill that 'would prevent public broadband providers from paying for communication networks with tax or government revenue.' Senator Rogers claims that 'The private sector is handling this exceptionally well.' Local government officials disagree. Georgia Municipal Association spokeswoman Amy Henderson says 'When cities were getting involved in broadband, it was because private industry would not come there. Without that technology, they were economically disadvantaged. We feel like it is an option cities should have.'"
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Georgia Bill Would Prohibit Subsidies For Municpal Broadband

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  • Doublethink (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ClintJCL (264898) <[clintjcl+slashdot] [at] [gmail.com]> on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @01:48PM (#38808719) Homepage Journal
    This is a corporate power bid to get public funds off their wires, so that they can claim the network as their own property, and no longer have to abide by [what is left of] the constitution. For example, laws governing privacy over publicly funded networks would cease to exist if no tax dollars went into something.

    Most politics these days is something bad trying to be passed off as something good. It's important that we keep PUBLIC money invested in our infrastructure, so that nobody can make the claim of "the corporations made this possible, therefore we should let them run roughshod over us". They didn't make it possible. DARPA and our tax dollars made the internet happen when it did.

    • by ISoldat53 (977164)
      Can you say "Sell out?"
    • The other side of this coin is they don't have to get payed in moneys
      There tax breaks, right of way access, perks and benefits.

      However the limitations on the wires for basic phone service must be really chapping their hides because they can see the gouging that is happening in the Cellular industry and they want on that gravy train.

      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        What limitations on wired phone service?

        • Re:Doublethink (Score:5, Informative)

          by s73v3r (963317) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .r3v37s.> on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @03:33PM (#38810169)

          Essentially, they have "Phone Neutrality". Meaning, when you call someone, they are required to connect that call, regardless of where the other person is, or what network they're on (exceptions for opt-in things like 900 blockers). And they cannot degrade the quality. A call to someone on a different network has to have the exact same priority as a call to someone on the same network.

    • Re:Doublethink (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Githaron (2462596) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:16PM (#38809151)
      I don't know about you but the only way I would accept that they own 100% of the infrastructure is if they not only stopped accepting aid from the government but also paid back all previous government aid whether it was in subsidizing, perks, tax breaks, or otherwise. Somehow, I doubt that would ever happen.
    • Re:Doublethink (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Penguinisto (415985) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:19PM (#38809183) Journal

      There is a danger in doing that.

      If they were successful in un-coupling themselves from any designation as a public entity, then claiming they and their equipment is purely private? They lose public rights-of-way for any stretch of their network that crosses private property (including easements in some cases). That means any property owner with a cable or fiber crossing his or her property can charge rent or cut the thing, and local governments can get real evil and charge massive rent to the private ISPs for easement

      (e.g. "Dear Comcast: You recently lost public utility easement rights. You now owe me $3k/month rental fee. As an alternative, you have 90 days to re-route your cable and to repair any and all damages at your expense, and with proper approval and permits by all relevant city authorities. Failure to perform either act means that I rent a bobcat to dig up and dispose of the existing fiber found on my property for non-payment").

      • by radtea (464814)

        If they were successful in un-coupling themselves from any designation as a public entity, then claiming they and their equipment is purely private?

        Corporations are public entities whose very existence is made possible by government interference with free markets in the form of various Companies Acts. So any such claim as the one you posit would be incoherent at best.

        • by icebike (68054) *

          I don't discount anything you say, but bear in mind that as things stand today, Corporations are people too, and they own their property just as surely as you own yours. Look up the derivation of the word Corporation.

      • If they were successful in un-coupling themselves from any designation as a public entity, then claiming they and their equipment is purely private? They lose public rights-of-way for any stretch of their network that crosses private property (including easements in some cases). That means any property owner with a cable or fiber crossing his or her property can charge rent or cut the thing, and local governments can get real evil and charge massive rent to the private ISPs for easement

        You have to know this isn't going to happen -- not to Comcast, at any rate, or Verizon, or Time-Warner, anyway. It might happen to local companies that are trying to provide good service at a reasonable price, of course, but the exact same companies that are buying laws like this will also buy themselves exemptions from any negative consequences of the laws.

        It seems to be a fairly common reaction on /. to warn certain groups trying to do evil (giant corporations buying stupid laws, and religious fanatics t

    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      >>>laws governing privacy over publicly funded networks would cease to exist if no tax dollars went into something.

      That's not really true. States have power to regulate anything they wish inside their borders. Look at how they regulate private electric and natural-gas companies. They can do the same with Comcast, Verizon, et cetera.

    • Re:Doublethink (Score:5, Insightful)

      by radtea (464814) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:50PM (#38809573)

      It's important that we keep PUBLIC money invested in our infrastructure, so that nobody can make the claim of "the corporations made this possible, therefore we should let them run roughshod over us"

      But this argument concedes far, far too much truth to the side of corporate lies.

      Corporations may make something possible, but corporations are made possible only by government interference with free markets. Corporations exist solely because of the Companies Acts of the 1800's and their modern descendents. They are a pure product of that State for the purposes of generating particular types of public benefit, and as such may be regulated in any way required to best realize the benefits for which they were created.

      But anyone who pretends that any good done by corporations is not also a public good, and fully claimable as such, is (inadvertently or otherwise) drinking the corporate kool-aid.

  • by lorenlal (164133) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @01:48PM (#38808731)

    I don't understand the purpose of something like this. The state is telling the counties and cities, "Hey, you're just not allowed to spend your share of tax revenues on X." I'd love to see the campaign donor list for this dude.

    If the private sector is doing so well, why tell them that they have one less idea to compete against? If anything, that *discourages* private companies from making services better. Sounds like a perfect case of trying to fix something that doesn't appear to be broken.

    • I used to live in two of the cities mentioned.

      It sounds nice, it sounds like "DUH, they should be able to get into municipal broad band" ...

      but everyone forgets that one detail.

      Government.

      So what did we end up with, lots of money spent, crap service WHERE you could get it, and you end up with the same politicized process that governs road construction and maintenance in many small towns. Meaning, commissioner X gets the potholes filled on his street, to hell with you.

      So, it might make sense; for cities who

      • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:10PM (#38809043) Homepage

        That could well be true, however, why do you need a state law saying municipalities CAN'T do broadband (or whatever)? What Georgia needs is home rule [wikipedia.org] legislation. Keep the state government out of things the local government can and should do.

        As has been pointed out, it's rather unlikely that the legislation has been crafted 'in the best interests' of the cities. Who's the winner here?

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by cpu6502 (1960974)

          >>>What Georgia needs is home rule legislation. Keep the state government out of things the local government can and should do.

          We ought to try this concept at the national level, instead of having Congress regulate every little thing, including what kind of lightbulb I can use (incandescents outlawed and replaced with Crap FLs). Yeah I'm a little annoyed by that last one. It made no logical sense. So I save a few pennies on electric but have to waste dollars driving to the landfill to dispose th

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            I've actually just replaced all my lights with LEDs.

            The CFLs are terrible. They flickr and have an awful colour for the most part, but incandescents waste a ton of electricity on creating heat and burn out like twice a year.

            The LED bulbs I got are comparable in color to the incandescent, run cool to the touch and use half the energy of the CFL.... and they last 25 years.

            Sure you pay $20 each, but you save almost half that per bulb each year in electricity and... like i said, they last 25 years.

            Try it!

            • by michrech (468134)

              It's been my experience that most people that complain about the color of CFL's didn't pay attention to the color temperature of what bulbs they were purchasing. I, personally, prefer the 3500k bulbs. My mother loves those awful 5000k bulbs. Most people I know that like incandescents but hated CFL's didn't mind the CFL's I got them that were in the 2000k range (I forget the exact number) -- they give off the same 'yellow' light that their favorite bulbs do.

              It's funny to go into someones house and see thr

          • by Cutriss (262920) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @03:00PM (#38809711) Homepage
            The light bulbs thing isn't about you saving money. It's about everyone making a very small change in their lives which results in a very large change for us all on this blue marble of ours. Making every single little government line item into "What does it do for me?" is part of how we got into this stupid mess in the first place.
        • I don't think you understand how governments work in the United States. The US Government is a sovereign, but the mutual agreement of the states. The states are also sovereigns, which gives me full control within their borders, baring constitutional and legislative limitations.

          The cities and counties are not sovereigns. They can be dissolved by the state they happen to reside in(in Georgia, at least, and a few other states, too), if needed. While that rarely ever happens, it is possible. Cities and cou

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by stanlyb (1839382)
        Actually it is not true. You cannot fire the government, neither AT&T and Comcast. And as always, there is always 3rd solution. Free the market. Remove any if not all of the regulations. Let the local IT guy build the network, support it, and earn some decent money with his skill. At the end of the day, if you are not happy with his services, you could always cross the street and %$%$%$%$% him, unlike the government and the big monopoly.
        • by cpu6502 (1960974)

          >>>You cannot fire the government, neither AT&T and Comcast.

          Say what?? I fired Comcast 5 years ago and haven't regretted it since. You're wrong when you say they can't be fired by the customer.

          Now if only I could find a way to fire the government-run water company; I have to pay that stupid bill (flat rate) even though I'm not hooked up. Government uses their taxing power to make you pay for services you don't want or use.

        • by michrech (468134)

          Wait -- what's stopping 'the local IT guy" from building his own network *now*? All he has to do is follow the same rules any other service provider does in order to string his cabling (and have the cash to do so)...

      • I fail to see any difference between that and Comcast where I live. One bad bureaucracy is the same as another.

        I'm for competition. If the only competition we are getting is between the local monopoly provider and the local government... Well, it's better than no competition.

        • by nschubach (922175)

          Ideally, Municipal Internet would be a fiber connection to each taxpaying customer where the main trunk is then connected to a major node of the Internet, or the Municipality was a major node that other neighboring Municipals would connect to forming multiple redundant links to neighboring Municipals. You really couldn't do Municipal Internet with competition because there's no real good way to connect to the Municipal line, then connect through that to an ISP of your choosing. If you did Municipal Intern

          • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:59PM (#38809685)

            Another idea is to treat the Nets the same way the roads are treated

            - Government owns and maintains the fiber (say 50 per bundle)
            - Verizon, Apple, Microsoft, et cetera lease one fiber each
            - The customer connects to whichever fiber/company they like best

            It would be like a return to the old Dialup days when you could sign-on to whatever ISP you wanted.

            • An entirely sensible and logical approach, that could be good for everyone involved.

              Which of course means it'll never happen in this country.

        • by s73v3r (963317) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .r3v37s.> on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @04:08PM (#38810679)

          Just about everywhere it's been done, people have gotten excellent service and better speeds than the incumbent telco for about the same price.

          Why do you think the incumbent telcos are worried about this shit? If they were better, they wouldn't care.

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by GrumpySteen (1250194)

        So, let's see if I've got this straight...

        Because a city you lived in screwed up their municipal internet project and provided "crap service", you'd rather have a law that would prevent even that so that everyone would have been left with no broadband service at all?

        Are you Amish?

      • So what did we end up with, lots of money spent, crap service WHERE you could get it

        Hmm. Sounds just my like situation with private monopolies.

        I can fire AT&T and Comcast

        But you cannot hire somebody else.

      • I can fire AT&T and Comcast

        That may be harder than you think. We 'fired' AT&T for several reasons, and picked up a connection through Telepacific. Guess what? Every time the circuit goes down, we have to wait for AT&T to come fix it, because they own most of the copper from here to the moon. And let me tell you, you get even worse service from AT&T when you aren't paying them directly...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by icebike (68054) *

        Everyone also forgets the Tragedy of the Commons [wikipedia.org].

        Public broadband (and worse yet public WIRELESS broadband) would quickly become unusable, for anything except fetching the weather report, due to massive over use by 2% of the user base. The over-grazers would just deplete the resource quickly.

        Of course, municipalities could employ the same measures as private industry does to regulate usage, but just as with welfare programs once government is involved, multiple levels of consumer protection automatically a

        • by laird (2705) <lairdp AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @03:44PM (#38810315) Journal

          "the mere existence of a government provider would prevent the situation ever improving"

          Sure, because FedEx and Perrier don't exist, because it's impossible to compete with the Post Office and municipal water. If private industries are unable to provide competitive broadband services with municipal broadband, it's not clear to me that the right response is to outlaw their competition.

          "broadband is not essential"

          Sure, and roads aren't essential either, nor a standing army, firemen or police. Luckily, the people of the United States formed a government to provide for the common good, which is not limited to things that you think are "essential".

          "the allure of municipal broadband lies with the vision of free internet. Just like free public pasture land it never works out that way"

          If broadband were an absolutely limited resource, like a pasture, you might have the problem of it running out. Luckily you can expand capacity with no limit, so if people use more bandwidth you can grow capacity to suit.

          You're right that some cities might contract broadband out to service providers, just as they do (for many cities) for water, power generation, telephony, etc., granting regulated monopolies.

          Unlike pure competition, regulated companies are forced to provide quality service and invest in infrastructure, in return for a guaranteed return - if their service level is below requirements, they don't get paid. Of course, if you deregulate the companies, they are short sighted and strip their infrastructure to make short term profits. For example, look at how deregulated power companies stripped the safety margins from the US power grid, leading to failures and brownouts. The proper response, of course, is to restore proper regulations so that the US infrastructure is properly maintained.

        • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @04:30PM (#38811017) Journal

          All this doesn't really matter. The point is not whether municipal broadband is successful or not. It's not even about broadband at all!

          The point is whether municipalities can use regular democratic procedures - you know, all that stuff about electing representatives and all - to decide where their local taxes go and what they fund. And when state overrides them (or fed overrides state), especially on matters where such an override is clearly done in the interests of certain businesses, it is bad in and of itself, regardless of what the potential problems such tax-supported service would be. Problematic or not, it should be up to the tax-paying residents to decide if they want to keep it or nuke it.

          • by icebike (68054) *

            Agreed, for the most part.
            But do remember, that we do not live in a pure democracy, the founding father went out of their way to avoid that [wikipedia.org]. There are some pretty well generally accepted limits placed on the purpose and scope of government.

            Taking broadband under the wing of government might not be the best solution economically, technically, or as a legal precedent.

            Still, if a municipality votes to do so in an open election, I see no reason (other than a philosophical one) why they should be prevented from

            • But do remember, that we do not live in a pure democracy, the founding father went out of their way to avoid that [wikipedia.org]. There are some pretty well generally accepted limits placed on the purpose and scope of government.

              This all only pertains to federal government, and in some limited form to the states. There's no requirement that municipalities can't run a "pure democracy".

              In any case, it's rather irrelevant, since the municipalities in question are representative democracies, so they are not really pure, and the scope of government there is limited. However, the generally accepted limits on the scope of government normally include tax spending on infrastructure.

              Still, if a municipality votes to do so in an open election, I see no reason (other than a philosophical one) why they should be prevented from doing so.
              If its paid for by a user fees, that's great. Even a bond issue, or a tax increase is fine if the people voted for it.

              That's true. I guess at this point it boils down to whether

      • by fallen1 (230220) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:42PM (#38809439) Homepage

        I live in one of the cities mentioned. Actually, I live in the county and here is my take:

        *** Fuck him with a large rubber duck Girl-with-a-Dragon-Tattoo style. ***

        Until the city implemented a broadband plan with cable TV, we had ONE choice for cable TV and virtually NO high speed internet especially in the county (Bellsouth/AT&T DSL is a massive joke to anyone who lived in the county and so was high speed internet connections). Suddenly, when the city decided "We want to attract more business to the area and also supply all of our schools with high speed internet services..." then WHOA! the local cable company went into overdrive. They started expanding their high speed internet services much faster and pushed them out into the county. They offered better bundle rates AND dropped their cost for cable TV alone. The move by the city _incentivized_ the local cable MONOPOLY to get off their ass and start offering the services to both city and county that they had been promising for a while and to bring their price down to a more competitive level.

      • by swb (14022)

        The other alternative is what happened in Minneapolis -- about 5 years ago they got all excited about "MUNICIPAL WIFI" and trotted out all the usual reasons we "needed" it.

        * Shelbyville and North Haverbrook have it, and they just sit in the park and develop content now instead working at real jobs.

        * It's inexpensive, and the poor need an inexpensive way to go online. Presumably because the poor are all sitting in front of $1500 computers and just can't get online.

        * There's no other way to get broadband, de

    • by Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:07PM (#38809003)

      I'd love to see the campaign donor list for this dude.

      Here you go. [votesmart.org]

      Oddly enough, I don't see Comcast or Verizon on there.

    • Note that there are also a number of "Friends for Chip Rogers" groups

      http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/candidate.phtml?c=124878 [followthemoney.org]

      Haven't paid much attention to him before now, but I'd expect a lot of pro-private health care bills.
  • by swschrad (312009) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @01:49PM (#38808749) Homepage Journal

    a locality has advantages over a corporation in placing broadband. they have no licensing fee or charter to seek. they have existing rights of way. they can line the sewers and pull fiber between the casing and the liner for free. they have bonding cost advantages. they can require franchised power and phone companies to give them free pole space because, well, they're the city. they can slip a little from general fund revenues and call it a public benefit... or create a telecom district like a water or sewer district and basically charge whatever it takes to run the place without hearings or competition.

    a telco that wants to go to Poison Creek has to file for all these things, dance with lawyers all the way through, and is darn sure not going to do it if they can't make a profit over the cost of buildout, at a million to two million a mile.

    this is frankly a "screw you" bill by somebody who's got a feud going with the telcos down there.

    • by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @01:58PM (#38808889) Journal

      As well it should. Internet access should be a utility. Every place I'm aware of that has municipal internet access has a superior connection than neighboring areas without municipal internet. This is what municipal governments are for.

    • by bfandreas (603438) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:00PM (#38808923)
      Utilities and telecommunication was publicly held in Europe for a very long time.

      The way starting your own service when the private sector doesn't do it usually works like this:
      -build stuff with tax money
      -spin it out as a publicly held company
      -sell it off with a profit

      And this is the right thing to do. If telcos don't want to build up because actually doing buusiness instead of just selling stock is a bit of a hassle then you build it yourself. Towns don't want their folks wander off into the City. If nobody can be arsed to sell electricity, take care of the sewage, take away the trash, keep the taps from running dry and in the 21st century provide telco services then you do it yourself.

      A mayor gets voted into office for taking care of the place. As is everybody else.
      Companies only have to answer their stockholders who do not give a damn if people in Stinking Dead Rat Creek get teh internets delivered in a series of tubes.

      Disallowing providing service to your citizens is that is just absurd. What's next? Not allowing the town to take care of the trash since nobody thinks there's not enough money in it?
      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        I wouldn't hold Europe as some great example of "how to do it right". I remember in the early days of the net (80s) my European colleagues complaining about high access charges applied to their modems, plus having to pay for local calling (therefore they couldn't make large multi-hour downloads).

        Meanwhile in the U.S. we had private phone monopolies (regulated by government) that added no modem surcharges and no billing for local calling. We were better-off than the EU computer users.

        I'm not saying I'm aga

      • by Teun (17872) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @03:02PM (#38809735) Homepage
        What I presently see here in Europe is towns building the physical fibre infrastructure and then making it available to private companies. The towns usually get into a contract with a cable or network builder to set up the hardware.
        Once build you can select TV, telephone and internet services from one of several ISP's.
    • by rbrander (73222)

      >a locality has advantages over a corporation in placing broadband.

      And a large corporation has advantages over a small one. A smart one has advantages over a dumb one.

      As a consumer, why should I want service from anybody except the provider with the most advantages?

      Face it, there's some stuff that the public sphere does well.

      Not everything; Wal-Mart has huge advantages over a municipal government in providing popular household purchases. Apple has huge advantages over a municipal government at inventin

  • If by "exceptionally well" you mean "locking up the market and raping (figuratively, of course) your customers with overpriced services."

    Local governments should be able to make the decision as to whether or not they want to subsidize a public broadband option, as they will know their local markets better than the state ever would.

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @01:51PM (#38808771)
    If your private businesses don't want to come into town and lay wire and such, so the local government has to step in to provide a service that many countries consider a fundamental human right to have... Don't pee down the back of the municipalities and then say it's raining. And guys, given that this is Georgia, why don't you just do a little bit of country justice on this guy... say with a large amount of tar, feathers, and a prompt adjustment of his attitude.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by roman_mir (125474)

      Whoever thinks that a service is a 'fundamental human right' is a fucking idiot.

      A fundamental human right cannot be something that somebody must PROVIDE one with.

      --

      As to this bill - whatever, it's a locality business, really, it's a business of that municipality.

      • Is there any particular reason why that class of things would be necessarily excluded from the list?(I'm not saying that they are on it, just that there isn't any obvious reason why they couldn't conceivably be).

        The notion of a 'fundamental human right' is really just a bit of emotional embellishment given to rights that the people discussing them feel particularly strongly about. The arguments that something is a 'fundamental human right' tend either to be pragmatic arguments about why it would be a goo
        • Because this class of rights is a blank check. It is very different to say that you can do something verse you must be provided with something.

          In order to freedom of speech, religion, or to bear arms all I needs is a few federal judges and a few zealots (ACLU, Christian Right, NRA, etc.).

          In order to provide medical care, education, or broadband access I have to start writing out big checks. Do I have to run fiber out the middle of nowhere for 1 guy? Is a 99% solution acceptable? A 80% solution?

        • by roman_mir (125474)

          A fundamental right of a person cannot impose an obligation upon another person, that's all I need to say about this.

      • by Teun (17872)
        But no-one says it has to be supplied for free.
        • by roman_mir (125474)

          Those are not rights, those are products and services that people need and create on their own without government.

          For example health care is not something that government provides, it's something that people go into because they find it to be a good profession (being a doctor for example), and before government started meddling with health care by pouring money into monopolies and protecting those monopolies from competition, people were able to supply themselves with the health care.

          I mean forget health ca

    • by alen (225700)

      most times it's not businesses not wanting to come to town but the town wanting the business to spend ridiculous amounts of money on yarn museums or something useless just to show that they aren't going to make money off the residents. or making them pay too much for the rights to lay wiring

  • Oh, what a crock... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @01:51PM (#38808789)

    Go ask the people of Wilson, North Carolina how well private interests provided high speed to them. [zeropaid.com]

    Then ask the people of Monticello, Minnesota

    These state-sponsored monopolies have gone on long enough. If the 'private market' market will not meet the demand, what else are people supposed to do? Just deal with shit-tier internet at exorbitant prices? Bullshit on that...the major ISPs are no worse than the MAFIAA or the Cartels.

  • by pavon (30274) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @01:56PM (#38808861)

    The "private market" has already used millions of dollars of federal tax money to build out their networks. So basically what this law is saying is that it was okay for the incumbent operators to take tax money, but bar any new competition from doing the same.

    That sounds more like a protection racket than a free market policy.

  • Who to contact (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @01:59PM (#38808911) Homepage
    The bill is sponsored by the following Senators to the Georgia State Senate:
    Rogers, Chip
    Shafer, David
    Unterman, Renee
    Stoner, Doug

    The bill is currently in the Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee [ga.gov] so if you in Georgia and senator is on that committee I suggest contacting them with your thoughts.
  • Private minorities' profit interests versus the people's interests.

    And again, private minorities who have stake in something readily attempt to block progress and keep the entire public under control - even if that means they wont be able to enjoy the amenities of 21st century.

    And they only will be able to do it when some private interests think that they can make good money over them.

  • Can anyone find out if he received any recent campaign contributions and from whom? All I could find was for 2008 [ballotpedia.org].
  • by RichMan (8097) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:06PM (#38808995)

    If this bill passes I would expect an immediately ordered audit of all current providers to prove that they in no way used any public money to fund their infrastrucure. If they did then the public should be asking for the money back.

    --The "private market" has already used billions of dollars of federal tax money to build out their networks. So basically what this law is saying is that it was okay for the incumbent operators to take tax money, but bar any new competition from doing the same.--

    So if the bill passes the current providers should be asked to pay it all back with interest.

    Just get something along those lines added to the bill and watch it disappear real fast.

  • by Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:09PM (#38809029) Homepage
    I would be fine with this bill if it also prohibited subsidies of any private business as well. Take away their special property taxes, tax increment finances, lowering their local corporate rates, right of ways, government backed loans, government bonding, ability to eminent domain, and any other such government provided benefit that gives them a business advantage over the free market.
    • by radtea (464814)

      Take away their special property taxes, tax increment finances, lowering their local corporate rates, right of ways, government backed loans, government bonding, ability to eminent domain, and any other such government provided benefit that gives them a business advantage over the free market.

      Why not take away their liability limitation and other special privileges granted to them under statute by the corporate form of organization and let them compete in a genuinely free market?

      Corporations do not exist in free markets: they are a legislatively defined and created form of collective organization. When I formed my company I filed forms with the government that gave me a special legal status. Without such legislative intervention to subvert the free market I'd be just a guy selling services, o

  • by richg74 (650636) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:10PM (#38809045) Homepage
    Senator Rogers claims that 'The private sector is handling this exceptionally well.'

    Someone should explain to this idiot that, if a competitive market is delivering a good service, then the private sector will do just fine without having some potential competitors excluded.

  • Any relation to the Rogers family that has a monopoly on communications in Canada?

  • by oneiros27 (46144) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:24PM (#38809253) Homepage

    It's amazing how efforts like this work ... if the telcon has the rights to build the network, but just can't get off their ass to actually build it out, they seem to like to wait until the municipality has paid for all of the up-front costs (telco gear, etc.), and then suddenly, the phone company is calling up everyone in the area, telling 'em they'll have their service in place really soon, and a month later, they've strung everything and are signing up customers, trying to undercut the municipality so they can show it as yet another case where 'municipal broadband didn't work'. (this was Frankfort, KY in the 1990s ... municipal was going to run fiber to the home, and suddenly Bell South is rolling out DSL)

    It also happened with other non-municipal competition ... in my current town in Maryland, we were on the bottom of the list with Comcast to upgrade to fiber .... but we sign a franchise agreement with Verizon for TV service, and suddenly we're at the top of their list and they're installing weeks later (without notifying us that they were going to be blocking off streets for the work)

  • by scamper_22 (1073470) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @02:35PM (#38809385)

    From what I read, a municipality can still operate its own broadband. It just can't use tax money.

    If a community wants to, it can raise funds in a non-profit manner and build out their own broadband. Too many people think only government or corporations can run anything.

    In reality, non-profits, mutuals, small business, guilds... all have long histories.

    I am against governments using tax money for broadband. It is just too easy for them to just use tax money for whatever. If they want to, they should get people on board, having the community invest in the non-profit entity...

  • by Montezumaa (1674080) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @03:04PM (#38809767)

    I live in an area, which is officially a part of the metro Atlanta Area, but we are severely undeserved by AT&T, Comcast, and any other companies that might(actually don't) offer services out here. AT&T refuses to extend DSL outside of the small towns in this county. Comcast refuses to offer broadband, at all; they only offer "digital cable". So, the great majority of this county is stuck with dial-up, satellite [dis]service, Verizon Wireless(AT&T had most of this county still covered in EDGE), or go without.

    With AT&T, greater than 75% of this county's residences are not eligible to receive DSL, as the central offices are too far away. AT&T is willing to put us on some mythical "waiting list", but what the fuck does that do for us? Nothing. I know quite a lot of the county residences that I have talked to(many hundreds, if not a couple of thousands), are on this list.

    Hell, my girlfriend, who works for AT&T and is required, by that shit-hole company, to have internet access, tried to talk to someone. Guess what? "[Fuck you!], waiting list." So, we have to pay AT&T competitor, Verizon Wireless, to provide us with slow, and severely capped mobile "broadband", so she can do her job for AT&T. We also do not get any sort of discount, or reimbursement. As much as it costs us, each month, it would almost be cheaper to pay for a DS1(T1, or whatever you want to call it) line to our home, at $357, or so, a month.

    I am proud to live in Georgia. The problem is that there are too many idiots in our various governments. The local commissioners dodge citizens, unless you are one of the top contributors, and the state reps and senators usually don't give care about their constituents, once is office, actually, never, unless, again, you are one of their top contributors.

    Chip Rogers, you can go fuck yourself. While you are at it, why don't you come out here and live with me for three months. I have a nice, rather new, and very clean home. I have a lot of property, so you will retain your privacy. The only catch is that you will have to work from here, and experience what we do, why trying to use just a few of the basic services found on the internet.

    I will stand over your shoulder, watching the data meter. When you come close to the included allotment, I will proceed to beat the shit out of you. This will best help you understand how our wallets feel, each month, when we receive our bill from Verizon Wireless, on top of everything else we have to pay for.

    • I am proud to live in Georgia.

      You're a brave man to admit that. Now you just have to go on to the other eleven steps and you'll be fine.

  • by Issarlk (1429361) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @03:04PM (#38809771)
    With all file sharing services blocked, there won't be any use for DSL. And you don't need Netflix or other such anti-american companies ; cable was good enough for your grandfather and it's good enough for you.
  • ... public subsidies for paved roads, sewers, electric power.
    But then this is Georgia. Would anyone notice their absence?

  • I live in Georgia (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Aryden (1872756) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @03:06PM (#38809795)

    The infrastructure here is complete shit and ruled by comcast / charter. Take away the government money, bills go up to compensate. Let them continue with the government money, they will increase prices and not upgrade shit anyhow.

    This state blows nuts. I'll be glad when I'm the hell out of here. This state is notorious for not siding or even giving a damn about it's people.

    Remember, this is the same state that decided to test it's own version of math that didn't make any sense and caused thousands of students to fail exit exams.

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

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