" /> Your Victory: Georgia Legislature Shelves Anti-Broadband Measure We Helped Expose | Stop the Cap!

Home » Astroturf »AT&T »Broadband Speed »Comcast/Xfinity »Community Networks »Competition »Editorial & Site News »Public Policy & Gov't »Rural Broadband » Currently Reading:

Your Victory: Georgia Legislature Shelves Anti-Broadband Measure We Helped Expose

Consumers and community leaders across Georgia can now rest a little easier knowing AT&T’s plans to throw up roadblocks against community broadband have gone awry.  SB313, a custom-written corporate welfare bill designed to protect cable and phone companies from competition, has reportedly been turned into a “study bill” — a graceful way to kill bad legislation without hurting too many feelings.

It wasn’t just the fact incumbent phone and cable companies wanted to stop community broadband projects from wiring communities they’ve ignored for years.  It wasn’t even the absurdity of the bill defining Georgia’s “broadband” speeds at just 200kbps (later ‘generously’ amended and increased to 758kbps).  This bill died because of consumer and community outrage — local officials working hand in hand with woefully under-served Georgians asking their elected officials why they seemed to care more about AT&T’s interests than those of the people who elected them to office.

Specious political arguments about “government/taxpayer involvement in broadband” and a sudden blitz of campaign contributions for the bill’s backers simply couldn’t overcome the reality of broadband-challenged rural Georgia.

According to the National Broadband Map, Georgia ranks 20th in the nation for broadband access. According to the forward of a report by Rich Calhoun, Program Director of the Georgia Technology Initiative, “As I traveled through the state to talk with leaders in municipalities, counties and community anchor institutions, I found that many places throughout Georgia indicated that they did not have access to affordable or sufficient broadband services. Telecommunications firms who have made significant investments in Georgia indicated that in some areas of the state the return on investment would not qualify for further investment at the present time.”

As Stop the Cap! exposed to our readers, AT&T isn’t interested in serving the broadband needs of rural Georgia and doesn’t want anyone else serving them either.

We exposed the well-financed propaganda campaign that maligned some of Georgia’s past experiences with municipal broadband, many projects derailed not by government ‘failure’ but through political interference and the private sector.  We showed readers how to follow the money to see the connection between campaign contributions and the sudden interest in effectively banning community broadband.  We exposed the fact this is a coordinated, nationwide effort by a corporate backed lobbying group (ALEC) that pays to wine and dine lawmakers and then sell them on a catalog of bills ghost-written by some of the nation’s largest telecommunications companies.  Legislation that hamstrings competition and protects monopoly profits, while always conveniently exempting incumbent providers from the terms of the bills they effectively wrote.

But the real victory goes to readers who picked up the phone or sent e-mail letting Georgia legislators know you were watching them and paying attention to this obvious corporate welfare bill.  You made it more expensive for lawmakers to vote with AT&T, despite their campaign contributions, than to vote for -your- interests.  The next election is never too far away.

Why We Fight: These are the minimum speeds needed by some of Georgia's most important institutions. While state lawmakers have 100Mbps access in Atlanta, some are content to define 758kbps "broadband" as just fine for the rest of the state.

We also applaud the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.  Their Community Broadband Networks project was able to educate, coordinate, and rally local governments who may not have been aware their broadband future was about to be indefinitely held ransom by AT&T and Comcast.

We never underestimate AT&T’s power and money.  But they continue to underestimate us and the communities they are supposed to be serving.

Common sense prevailed in Georgia.  South Carolina may be a different story.  Their own anti-broadband measure is still alive and kicking.  We’ll be holding additional “calls to action” on this bad bill shortly.

Stay involved in the fight.  The better broadband you protect may be your own.

Share

Currently there are 3 comments on this Article:

  1. Fred says:

    Thank You Georgia! Now please help us in South Carolina defeat H. 3508. If this passes, I will likely leave the state.

  2. [...] 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 [...]

  3. [...] forward on their own broadband networks. A Georgia bill with similar restrictions, however, has been shelved despite support from Republicans in the state senate. There are some bright spots however, a new [...]







Search This Site:

Contributions:

Recent Comments:

  • dan: I sat Down with bhn rep in person for each 1gb connection was $2000 a month....
  • bree: I got the run around also. I emailed and called many times and Comcast still will not give me my rebate. Comcast is hands down the worst at honorin...
  • JayS: With the change to digital Tv and the advent of 'sub-channels', the rule about not owning more than two stations in a given Tv market has me confused....
  • James Cieloha: I know about the history of David Smith, Barry Faber, David Amy, and Sinclair: David Smith, Barry Faber, and David Amy with all of their colleagues...
  • The Kin: That's all fine and dandy, Paul except for the fact that cable companies have enough in profits to easily coat the US in fiber and then some. The cabl...
  • Dave Hancock: Fat chance. Perhaps the government will force "a-la carte", but the providers (ESPN, etc) will continue to insist that they be carried by the most po...
  • Terry Hall: I was told I would get a $200 rebate and was sent $100. I've been given 5 different numbers to call, all with long wait times. The last number I was g...
  • JoeinIllinois: At some point, won't the cable companies press ESPN , the Regional Sports Networks, NHL network, NBA network, MLB network, NBC Sports Net, regional NC...
  • Paul Houle: The big issue with Fiber is that it has high costs to set up, not so much because the hardware is expensive, but because you have to either dig up t...
  • Scott: Perfectly example of why I still don't subscribe to cable or satellite. The only channel I *might* watch out of that entire lineup is Comedy Central....
  • James Cieloha: CableOne, Service Electric, GCI, Buckeye and other NCTC members are being forced by Viacom to add the Epix movie channels in order to carry the cable ...
  • Dave Hancock: I don't know where AP lives, but in MOST areas of the country MOST people do not have any choice for High Speed Internet (15mbps or above) - it is the...

Your Account: