','subtitle>',$line); echo $line; $line = "\n"; } else if (strstr($line, '','updated>',$line); } else if (strstr($line, '','published>',$line); } else if (strstr($line, ' Impractical Proposals <br> Santa Monica: Municipal broadband is coming...<br>But is it coming here?


Municipal broadband is coming...
But is it coming here?

Governments as diverse as West Virginia's and Culver City's are sensibly treating wireless access as a public utility. Culver's redevelopment agency, for example, spent around $20,000 putting a network together to provide about a square mile of downtown with free wi-fi access.

The internet itself was developed using the public's money and, right wing propaganda notwithstanding, the US has a long and successful history of municipal ownership of utilities supplying water, electricity, buses, trains,and other services, continuing down to present-day L.A. Companies like SBC, Verizon and T-Mobile will do their best to undermine these efforts -- SBC recently got monoply control of fee-based wireless access in California's parks and beaches, but they may have a harder time if Arizona Senator John McCain, New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg and some of their cohorts succeed in passing legislation they've introduced with the goal of ensuring that cities and counties can provide community-wide broadband should they choose to. The solons want to amend the Telecommunications Act of 1996 in order to prevent state and federal legislative actions, backed by the telecommunications giants, that are aimed at keeping local governments out of the broadband business (just as the big real estate owners were able to get the California state legislature to put an end to local rent control). As many as 14 states have passed laws limiting municipal broadband services, mostly in response to lobbying by the large internet providers.


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