Will Lansing Threaten Wi-Fi Plans
A provision of Pennsylvania House Bill 30 (HB 30), a wide-ranging telecommunications bill signed into law by Gov. Edward Rendell earlier this month, contains language prohibiting a government or any entity it creates from offering broadband Internet service for a fee, according to a Nov. 23 ComputerWorld report.
"I'm just livid," said Dirk Koning, executive director of the
"What's next? Is B. Dalton (Booksellers) going to complain because libraries are checking out books for free and cutting into their sales?"
The government of
Construction of the $7 million to $10 million project was set to begin in June 2005 and be completed by June 2006, with the intent of encouraging economic growth and bridging the digital divide.
About 60 percent of
HB 30, however, has eliminated three of the five possible business models being discussed by the city.
"Verizon got legislation passed intended to restrict the
Verizon Communications is the incumbent carrier in
"It's turning out to be quite an amazing little soap opera," Koning said. "Five years ago, I would have said it would be ludicrous that a city or municipality would be challenged for providing their own telecommunications infrastructure, but here we are."
Koning explained that many pieces of social infrastructure have been developed through government entities or public-private partnerships in communities nationwide. There are some strong examples locally in
While local Internet providers have given no sign that they will pursue similar efforts in
"We certainly have to be cognizant of it," he said. "At this date and time, the state of
The legislation is similar to laws passed by 14 other states across the country concerning fiber-optic urban loops. States are granted full latitude on the legality of municipal entries into broadband Internet and other telecommunications ventures by last year's U.S. Supreme Court case, Nixon vs. Missouri Municipal League.