The Municipal Broadband Bill: My take.

My Governor Bev Perdue has until midnight to veto H129, a bill that some are saying “protects the monopolies of second rate corporate ISPs at the expense of fast, cheap, local broadband.” I hope she doesn’t.

In the interest of full disclosure, I do work for a corporation that provides high speed internet, but I want to make clear two things: (1) I held these views before I worked here, and (2) the views expressed in this post are mine alone, and unrelated to my employer or my employment.

I’m frustrated, as I’ve written before, that those on the opposing side of the debate are characterizing my position as a support of “big business” or “corporate monopolies.” What I am against is a governmental monopoly. Municipal broadband is broadband that doesn’t have to continue making a profit to continue to function. Governments are fiscal nightmares, generally. Instead of closing up show when they stop making money, they just continue to spend money they don’t have until our economy collapses. “Big Business” on the other hand, makes a profit. That profit is used to hire more people, provide healthcare to those people, provide income to those people, and make the economy grow. (to call that a vast oversimplification would be itself a vast overstatement)

I understand that the same corporations are using those same profits to lobby government to pass legislation protecting their profits. (but can you blame them? Imagine someone entering your field, doing what you do, but for free, without having to make a profit to continue doing it.) I’m not suggesting that I know the answer to the complex issues of corporate lobbies for government action. I’m only vaguely familiar with the issues in the first place.

Let’s start, though, by seeking to understand and debate the issues, not just the sound bytes.