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Anti-Competition, “1.5Mbps is Good Enough for You” Broadband Bill Before Georgia Legislators

georgiaA handful of Georgia state legislators have introduced a bill to ban community-owned broadband anywhere Internet service is available at speeds of at least 1.5Mbps — so slow it does not even meet the FCC’s new definition of “broadband.”

The so-called “Municipal Broadband Investment Act,” introduced Feb. 8 is just the latest in a series of anti-competition, corporate welfare bills designed to protect existing telecom monopolies and duopolies from facing any additional competition.

Introduced and co-sponsored by Reps. Mark Hamilton (R-Cumming), Don Parsons (R-Marietta), Ron Stephens (R-Savannah), Jay Roberts (R-Ocilla), Ben Harbin (R-Evans), and Jon Burns (R-Newington), H.B. 282 would only allow community providers to offer service where broadband is not available within a census block, a requirement that makes virtually all public broadband efforts untenable because of the patchwork of DSL service throughout the state.

Hamilton

Hamilton

Remarkably, the legislation also includes a penalty clause that will leave community providers liable for damages payable to corporate-owned Internet Service Providers if they dare compete with the state’s largest phone and cable companies. Local communities could even be on the hook for attorney fees paid by companies like Comcast, Windstream, and AT&T to make sure publicly owned ISPs never get off the ground.

Phone companies like Windstream are seeking federal funding from the FCC Connect America Fund that will defray up to $775 per home for new broadband hookups delivering at least 4/1Mbps service. But Georgia’s legislation will set a new standard for minimum broadband at a much slower 1.5Mbps, benefiting telephone companies like AT&T, CenturyLink and Windstream. All can claim their existing 1.5Mbps DSL lines are good enough for Georgia to consider an area “served” by broadband. That certification would make it impossible for a publicly owned provider to establish far faster service.

Stop the Cap! strongly urges Georgia residents to contact their state representative and ask that he or she vote no on H.B. 282, which is nothing more than another corporate-written and backed protectionism bill that will guarantee rural Georgia remains mired in a slow speed broadband swamp. The best way corporate ISPs can guarantee no community will rise up to compete is by providing 21st century broadband speeds and service to local residents.

The proposed bill is scheduled for its first hearing tomorrow afternoon at 4pm.

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elfonblog
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Wow, oh wow. This orgiastic corporate wish-list pushing has reached a whole new low. Their choice of thresholds literally confesses their true intentions. And that name; “Municipal Broadband Investment Act”. Naturally, the short description on the ballot will only be “to allow for public providers of broadband service to provide such services in unserved areas”. Sounds good, right? I’d check that box! Maybe this could come back to bite the industry on it’s ass by wiring up thousands of rurals with fiber to the home right outside town wherein Comcast smugly sells 1.5Mbit for twice the cost. It’s also frustrating… Read more »

elfonblog
Guest

One more LOL; by definition, “Title 36 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated” itself is in conflict with this Act, which seeks to amend the Code. Since ratifying the Act would repeal the Code, then it either becomes the whole of the Code, or an orphaned, and thus powerless amendment to a repealed Code.

James Cieloha
Guest
James Cieloha

Every AT&T, CenturyLink, Windstream, and Comcast customer in Georgia should be ashamed of both their providers and their state politicians for not wanting to allow communities to build their own broadband network in Georgia very severely. I feel that Randall Stephenson with AT&T, Glen Post with CenturyLink, Jeffery Gardner with Windstream, and Ralph and Brian Roberts with Comcast, and all of the state politicians are trying to be way too big being like the Wal-Mart’s, the Clive Davis’s when he was at Columbia Records in the 1970′s, the Neil Bogart’s of Casablanca Records fame of the 1970′s disco era, the… Read more »

Adam Ridley
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Adam Ridley

Windstream already refuses to upgrade their equipment as is, if they have nobody who can come and compete with them why would they bother spending the money they got from the govt to upgrade places where they fear no loss of customers because nobody is going through the trouble of setting up a network were they fastest speed they could offer is 1.5. Windstream has been telling customers all over that a fix was coming (for me over three years), they tell you they have over utilization problems in your area and the dsl has been oversold. They know the… Read more »

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