Broadband expansion is a hot topic in government circles, many communities and now in the news headlines as the telecommunications industry is pushing wireless communications and a sea of cell antennas over fiberoptic expansion throughout the country. There is concern for industry consolidation, with just a few telecommunication giants controlling the market, causing a lack of competition among carriers that could lead to higher prices and less local control. A 2017 lawsuit filed against Crown Castle International Corporation, the U.S.’s second largest operator of cell towers, accused the company of defrauding the state of New York for utility pole fees.
The news that revolves around this technology is broad and includes broadband networks, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, cell towers, health effects of wireless and corporate consolidation and misconduct.
Citizens who have never spoken out before are attending government meetings for the first time to oppose the proliferation of small cells in their neighborhoods and loss of local control. Open access fiber networks may be the solution.
Reinventing Wires and Broadband Competition
An important roadmap for cities called Re-Inventing Wires: The Future of Landlines and Networks, from the National Institute for Science, Law and Public Policy in Washington D.C., highlights both the many problems from wireless expansion and the benefits of wired and fiberoptic connections. Timothy Schoechle, PhD, the author of the 2017 white paper, points out that 21 States have restrictions on municipal broadband (Fiberoptic networks) in the name of competition. ,Re-Inventing Wires. These laws have stated that local municipalities that could purchase and run fiberoptic networks cheaper and remove the digital divide would cause unfair competition for services. Should states remove these laws to regain control of their municipalities?
California Broadband Law Restricts Municipal Broadband
California has no specific law against a community building its own broadband network, but it does have SB 1191, which states that, if a city builds its own network and then a private company shows up “ready, willing, and able to acquire, construct, improve, maintain, and operate broadband,” the city has to turn it over or lease it to that company.
Open Access Fiberoptic: The SolutionFor Municipalities
Open access fiberoptic solutions can be built for “middle-mile” infrastructure or last-mile infrastructure to bring high speed internet to homes through publicly funded effort by cities. This would give self reliance and true competitive choice to consumers-MuniNetworks. Because any ISP provider can use it there is no legal competition argument to derail the projects unless states pass such a bill as they have tried to do. Open Access Broadband Solutions.
Two New Maryland Bills HB 1767 and SB 1188 –
New proposed bills in Maryland, HB 1767 and SB 1188, regarding permitting and siting of wireless facilities, aim to rapidly deploy broadband cellular antenna networks and limit local control with a long list of provisions. http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2018RS/bills/sb/sb1188f.pdf
WHEREAS, Encouraging the deployment of small wireless facilities and other next–generation wireless and broadband network facilities will attract new investment in wireless infrastructure technology that supports enhanced network and next–generation smart cities and other solutions and is a matter of statewide concern and interest Maryland bill SB 1188
New Michigan Bill SB637
Senator Patrick Colbeck of Michigan, an aerospace engineer, gave an articulate and impassioned plea to oppose Michigan’s SB637 which proposes to streamline placement of cell antenna based on health risks.
Artificial Intelligence in the News
Broadband in the News 2018
Broadband in the News 2017
Broadband in the News 2016
- IPSs Try to Kill Open Access Fiber Network, Avoid Competition. Are Technica. 1/22/16
Broadband in the News 2015
Broadband in the News 2014
Self Driving Cars in the News