USTelecom Moves To Block Cities From Offering High-Speed Internet Services To Consumers

280px-Logo_ustelecom_lgWe have previously discussed how the United States lags behind many countries in the speed and availability of high-speed Internet. As noted earlier, this is due primarily to the powerful lobby in Washington and members who do their bidding in Congress to allow certain companies to control and profit off of such access. The U.S. cable industry and its lobbyists however have been careful to stay out of the public eye to protect their income and the members that they use in Congress. Now, however, the industry has made a rare play in the open. The industry is moving to block plans in Chattanooga, Tennessee and Wilson, North Carolina to offer high-speed internet services to their citizens. Lawyers and lobbyists for USTelecom, which represents cable giants Comcast, Time Warner and others, have mobilized to stop this trend where municipalities have responded to the demand of their citizens for such access. In the world of Washington lobbying, the slowest in this field has continued to win the race. While slow in service, our telecom companies are fast in making friends in Congress.

USTelecom has actually argued that it is merely trying to protect consumers from bad internet connections by forcing them to buy access from it: “The success of public broadband is a mixed record, with numerous examples of failures. With state taxpayers on the financial hook when a municipal broadband network goes under, it is entirely reasonable for state legislatures to be cautious in limiting or even prohibiting that activity.” By the way, Chattanooga offers customers access to speeds of 1 gigabit per second – about 50 times faster than the US average. The service, provided by municipally owned EPB, is now petitioning the FCC to expand its territory. Comcast and others have previously tried to use lawsuits and lobbyists to block such efforts.

I fail to see why a major developed nation like the United States does not offer free high-speed Internet and wi-fi access in the same way that it supplies actual superhighways. This is the key to the modern economy and yet we are allowing companies to manipulate speeds to profiteer at the cost of economic growth.

In publications, USTelecom is calling for the Commission and possibly Congress to preempt such efforts and cut off such access to consumers. If history is any measure, the well-healed telecom lobbyists will have little problem in getting members to listen to their plight.

By the way, we rank 31st in the world thanks to our friends in the Telecom industry and their friends in Congress.

The question is whether the public will finally wise up and demand that this stranglehold by USTelecom be taken from their virtual throats.

115 thoughts on “USTelecom Moves To Block Cities From Offering High-Speed Internet Services To Consumers”

  1. Did I miss something.?

    Aren’t Municipalities just Public Corporations who exist only where they can make more than they spend? How could it be wrong let alone illegal for a Municipality to enter into the communications business to serve their community.. as long as they could not hold a monopoly on service.. Why should they be prevented from competing for customers like everyone else.

    When done well the public gets a service and the Municipality gains a legitimate source of revenue..

  2. An easy, sure way to spot a paid or volunteer right-wing shill/troll is the tactics they all use when responding to information they don’t like but can’t refute.
    almost all try to shoot the messenger, try to discredit the source, say something childish/silly, feign outrage, question the writer’s patriotism, act as though the message or messenger doesn’t deserve a response, deny there is such a thing as paid propaganda, cite a right-wing argument that may or may not make sense on its own, but is unresponsive to the issue at hand, act in a way that reveals their loathe for people and ideas that are unknown or just different than theirs, cite right-wing talking points from the vast right-wing conspiracy etc.

    PS. Are you listening? ditto NS.

  3. You know raff another thing that I have been pondering about the slow internet… Which granted is faster than dial up, but the government may not want private citizens to have faster so that they can scan the use easier….

    Just like multiple area codes in a designated area, they can track the owner of that number in gigabyte, teribyte seconds… So there might be competing interests in this…

    1. Obama seems to want net neutrality and seems to against tiered internet service. Currently I pay more because I stream a lot of video. When I had the lower service, it was always hanging up so it could buffer.

  4. “I fail to see why a major developed nation like the United States does not offer free high-speed Internet and wi-fi access in the same way that it supplies actual superhighways.”

    Because capitalism. Because the only important thing in America is private profits.

  5. Just in case anyone missed swarthmoremom’s comment earlier in the thread.

    Good to keep this in mind:

    “Does this really come as a surprise? As a freelance writer I have encountered hundreds of help wanted postings for fake right-wing bloggers, paid commenters and bogus survey takers. Most of the positions pay between five and ten cents a post. The “paid commenters” ads usually appear on international freelancing sites, meaning you do not have to live in the United States to help push the tea party agenda here.”

    1. anonymous – someone owes me a great deal of money. And what makes you think the bloggers are fake right-wingers? They could just as easily be right-wingers who are now getting paid for their opinions. There are more right-wingers than left-wingers.

      On the same note, I do think there are a couple of bloggers who are getting their talking points either from the DNC or the White House. The meme of the day is always the same.

  6. @Paul C Schulte

    Its common among libertarian circles that you conservatives love government thuggery as much as your run of the mill liberal. But its cute that you pretend to love liberty.

    1. chill1184 – can you back up your statement or is it just anecdotal? And just what libertarian circles do you run in that this is supposedly “common”?

      1. Lew Rockwell, Scott Horton, Lawrence Vance, William Grigg, Paul Craig Roberts, Robert Wenzel, Mike Rozeff, Tom Woods among others.

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