H. F. 2695, A bill for an act relating to telecommunications; prohibiting publicly owned broadband systems; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 237.
House Authors Runbeck ; Kiffmeyer
Runbeck told the Minnesota Independent via email that she paid $100 for a two-year membership in the organization, and says she’s never used ALEC’s “model legislation,”
But Runbeck’s sudden interest in banning community broadband coincides with similar efforts in states like Georgia and South Carolina backed by big cable and phone companies. Runbeck’s bill would directly target rural
Minnesota, where broadband is the least robust, while exempting Minneapolis, St. Paul, and (and incumbent phone and cable companies) from the bill’s provisions. Runbeck’s bill also constrains existing public broadband services from expanding, an important matter for providers still rolling out service to additional neighborhoods in their communities. Duluth
SB 313 also hurts existing cable and phone customers who pay higher rates because of the lack of competition. \
Brady says their community-owned system not only provides broadband where Charter would not, the cable company also was forced to reduce their rates for consumers in nearby communities, saving taxpayers across the entire city and county millions.
,Chip 21st(2) Shafer,David 48th(3) Unterman,Renee 45th(4) Stoner,Doug 6th Rogers
ALEC, ALEC, ALEC
Consumer advocates Michael Sanera and John Stephenson, however, argue the bill doesn’t go far enough because true competition can never exist between private companies and taxpayer-funded government enterprises.
Sanera, research director and local government analyst at the North Carolina-based John Locke Foundation, commented, “I think it is impossible for a private company to compete with government provision of broadband. Government always has the advantage. It does not pay taxes, loans it receives are not based on the same principles as private companies, and government can force taxpayers to pay for deficits and losses,” he said.
Sanera and Stephenson, director of the Communications and Technology Task Force at the American Legislative Exchange Council, both say requiring a public referendum will do little to create a level playing field.
Sponsors: Senator Apodaca.
North Carolina State Rep. Marilyn Avila (
) has introduced a new bill to fight pioneering municipal broadband efforts. Mainly supported by the state's large incumbent service providers -- AT&T, CenturyLink and Time Warner Cable -- the new bill is the fourth effort in recent years to put a ban on community fiber-based network efforts. R-Wake County
Marilyn Avila - ALEC, A member of ALEC’s Telecommunications and Information Technology Taskforce
AT&T = ALEC
CenturyLink - ALEC
Time Warner = ALEC
Five NC cities that have already created municipal broadband networks,
Wilson, , Morganton, Davidson and Mooresville, are exempt from most of the bill’s restrictions, although their coverage areas would be limited. Salisbury
Telecom firms such as Time Warner Cable have argued that the municipal broadband networks have an unfair advantage, while the municipalities complain that the commercial providers do not offer high speed service in their areas and the lack hurts business.
Time Warner = ALEC
has recently considered some legislation from State Rep. Linda Runbeck, R-Circle Pines, that would revoke local authority to decide if a community should build a network. She was quoted in the MPR story: Minnesota
"You're putting the public sector right up against the private sector," Runbeck said. "It's clearly a very competitive industry ... It's a high risk industry. Why should we put that risk on the taxpayer?"
She states she will introduce the same bill next session and though her bill is dead this year, it continues to collect co-sponsors. Not a good sign for
's rural communities. Minnesota
House Authors Runbeck ; Kiffmeyer
There is no question that broadband will become as ubiquitous as the traditional household utilities.
But does it deserve the same classification as water & sewer, roadways, or school systems, in being provided by the government?
A growing number of municipalities are answering “yes” by building their own networks and offering broadband services to their citizens. ALEC disagrees with their answer due to the negative impacts it has on free markets …
If municipalities are inclined to pursue broadband initiatives then certain safeguards must be put in place in order to ensure that private providers, with whom the municipality will compete with, are not disadvantaged by the municipality in the exercise of its bonding and taxing authority, management of rights of way, assessment of fees or taxes, or in any other way.
“I recently learned that several state legislatures are considering bills that are contrary to the deployment objectives of the Broadband Plan. For example, in
, the state legislature is currently evaluating legislation entitled ‘Level Playing Field/Local Government Competition.’ Last week the North Carolina House passed the bill, and it currently awaits consideration in the Senate.” North Carolina
“This piece of legislation certainly sounds goal-worthy, an innocuous proposition, but do not let the title fool you. This measure, if enacted, will not only fail to level the playing field; it will discourage municipal governments from addressing deployment in communities where the private sector has failed to meet broadband service needs. In other words, it will be a significant barrier to broadband deployment and may impede local efforts to promote economic development.”
Runbeck told the Minnesota Independent via email
that she paid $100 for a two-year membership in the organization,
and says she’s never used ALEC’s “model legislation,”