CLIC readers should enjoy this detail from Wilson, NC’s Reply comments on the the vital role the public plays in the deployment of high capacity broadband for our country:
“…the Commission must also seek to ensure that America makes adequate progress in deploying high-capacity broadband networks. Why is this critically important? As CenturyLink candidly acknowledges in its opposition, “From an economic development, education, healthcare and public safety standpoint, fiber-based broadband is certainly in the best interest of the nation.” 4 Similarly, AT&T claims that it “shares petitioners’ desire to ensure that all Americans, including, but not limited to, those living in and around Chattanooga and Wilson, have access to world class broadband infrastructure.”5
“…Unfortunately,… the opposition does not want communities to play a significant role … According to AT&T and USTA, the Commission has a better option – it should subsidize extensions of low-bandwidth private networks through federal programs such as the Connect America Fund.6 In other words, it is fine for the federal government to subsidize low-capacity private networks, but it is inappropriate for communities to invest in their own state-of-the-art fiber networks, from which they and the Nation have so much to gain.”
The Reply comments then go on to quote Senator John McCain who, ten years ago, described what he saw as the appropriate policy framework for viewing the role of the public sector in deploying broadband networks:
“… when private industry does not answer the call because of market failures or other obstacles, it is appropriate and even commendable, for the people acting through their local governments to improve their lives by investing in their own future. In many rural towns, the local government’s high-speed Internet offering may be its citizens only option to access the World Wide Web.”
Summing it up, Wilson states:
“These words are as true today as they were in 2005. If the private sector will not provide communities the high-capacity fiber networks they need to drive and support economic development, educational opportunity, and much more, then the communities should have the right, unconstrained by incumbent-driven state laws, to do what they believe necessary to acquire such networks.” [emphasis added]
All footnote citations and these comments can be found on pages 4-6 of Wilson’s Reply Comments. Get involved! File your own ex parte comments in the Wilson/Chattanooga proceeding and tell the FCC why your community deserves modern levels of broadband and local internet choice. See here.