The Telecom Industry Strikes Back

Last month, Facing South commented on the rise of "wired communities" across the country, as communities set up free or reduced rate city-wide broadband services, including Wi-Fi. We also warned that the telecommunications industry wasn't exactly pleased about the trend. Well, neither is Texas state legislator Phil King (R-Weatherford), who has introduced a bill to ban city-initiated broadband efforts in Texas. The Austin Chronicle reports:

Telecom providers did not want to compete against municipal broadband initiatives. Said Rep. King, "No business should have to compete with public tax dollars." The provision generated an outcry among cyber-lobby citizens' groups and advocates for cities, who argued that the market chases only dollars and therefore cares little about providing services for small or impoverished communities. The digital divide, they were concerned, would grow larger, leaving unwired communities economically vulnerable.

Unsurprisingly, the telecom industry's right to make a buck trumps the public interest and the ideal of equal access.