Print 30 comment(s) - last by Graviton.. on Jul 3 at 8:58 PM

Some say it shows the lobbying of AT&T and private corporations who don't want the added competition

The state of South Carolina has passed a bill that will make it quite challenging for municipalities to make their own publicly-owned Internet service provider (ISP).

The bill passed the South Carolina General Assembly and Senate last Wednesday. It isn't a complete ban on municipalities creating their own ISPs, but doing so would prove to be very difficult.

The bill looks a bit shady to many. Some, like analyst Phillip Dampier, say it shows the lobbying of AT&T and private corporations who don't want the added competition. Also, the bill shows that broadband is considered a minimum of of 190 kilobits per second.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which lobbies local, state and federal representatives for certain bills that reflect their own priorities, wrote on its website that private corporations should be protected when it comes to publicly-owned ISPs.

"If municipalities are inclined to pursue broadband initiatives then certain safeguards must be put in place in order to ensure that private providers, with whom the municipality will compete with, are not disadvantaged by the municipality in the exercise of its bonding and taxing authority, management of rights of way, assessment of fees or taxes, or in any other way," wrote ALEC.

AT&T, a member of ALEC, provided $1,000 in 2011 to the lead author of the South Carolina bill, Michael Gambrell.

The bill now only awaits the state governor's signature. The bill can be found here.

Source: Ars Technica

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By shabby on 7/2/2012 8:59:28 PM , Rating: 5
That's all it takes to buy off these scum who write laws? Im shocked...

RE: $1000?
By TSS on 7/2/2012 10:29:28 PM , Rating: 3
That's a positive thing.

If it get's any cheaper the people can bribe the politicians themselves.

Actually, that gives me a great explanation why all of this is happening in the first place. Remember that crashed UFO in roswell?


RE: $1000?
By Solice55 on 7/3/2012 8:20:44 AM , Rating: 3
That was one of my favorite episodes, so I should be laughing... but this is reality, so I'm crying instead.

RE: $1000?
By NellyFromMA on 7/3/2012 8:40:36 AM , Rating: 2
Until the people do so and then are outpriced subsequently as a result. Same game.

RE: $1000?
By MechanicalTechie on 7/2/2012 11:18:28 PM , Rating: 5
Haha shocked!?! really???

US Government is dripping in corruption... you gotta be deaf, dumb and blind to not know about it.

But hey... the majority won't care.. pop idol is on tv tonight!!!

RE: $1000?
By johnsmith9875 on 7/3/2012 11:14:42 AM , Rating: 1
I think you're blaming the wrong people.

RE: $1000?
By Samus on 7/3/2012 1:36:02 AM , Rating: 2
I remember this funny Onion column a few years ago (Bush-era) that a wealthy man lobbied each member of congress with a million dollar donation ($100 million total) and each member voted to ban donations to members of congress forever.

Depends how selfish the current congress is and how little they'll care about who succeeds them.

RE: $1000?
By inperfectdarkness on 7/3/2012 2:02:58 AM , Rating: 3
I still want Bev Perdue to DIAF.

RE: $1000?
By Noya on 7/3/2012 6:14:26 AM , Rating: 2
Don't be obtuse, you know it was probably a new car or something of similar value.

RE: $1000?
By Natch on 7/3/2012 8:20:32 AM , Rating: 2
Now the simple solution is to find out which politicians received, POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS , from AT&T, and then vote them out of office, this coming November.

New politicians should easily be able to overturn this purchased legislation.

By MadMan007 on 7/2/2012 9:51:41 PM , Rating: 2
certain safeguards must be put in place in order to ensure that private providers


RE: why?
By Regected on 7/2/2012 9:54:12 PM , Rating: 5
But won't SOMEBODY please think of the CORPORATIONS!!

RE: why?
By johnsmith9875 on 7/3/2012 11:15:43 AM , Rating: 2
Corporations are people too, my friend.

- Mitt Romney

RE: why?
By Trisped on 7/3/2012 1:48:32 AM , Rating: 2
The same tricks the corporations use to prevent competition can also be used by municipalities. In addition municipalities can enact laws which further restrict competition.

I have seen it done once around me, where a city required all new development to run fiber to each house/building. Then the city took possession of the lines and started offering their own ISP service. To start the prices were very good, so everyone signed up. Then it turned out that the city was charging 100% tax on it, so $100 a month for is actually $200. When residents decided they did not want to pay the tax, they could not find an ISP willing to pay to run lines (since the city would not share theirs) so they were/are stuck with the municipal ISP.

From my point of view a municipality should be able to offer internet service to it's constituents, just like a corporation or even small business. That being said, the municipality should not be able to pass laws preventing competition.

RE: why?
By knutjb on 7/3/2012 4:22:12 AM , Rating: 2
Sadly your health care is going the same way as your ISP.

Not sure why I even bothered.
By Trisped on 7/3/2012 2:09:54 AM , Rating: 1
I admin, I read it rather fast, but this bill ( ) does not do anything insidious (except maybe define broadband to be 190kbps).

What it does do is make it so municipalities who do offer internet service cannot give themselves special privileges or exempt themselves from laws which must be followed by corporations. It basically states that unless the municipality is serving an area which does not have broadband access (except through satellite), the municipality has to compete with the corporations.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I see nothing here (except the broadband def) which is insidious or anti-competitive.

Also, I find it hard to believe the $1000 donation was a bribe. It was probably a campaign contribution, which was matched with an equal contribution to his competitor. Most corporations pay money to both sides, independent of platform.

RE: Not sure why I even bothered.
By Kyuu on 7/3/2012 3:55:02 AM , Rating: 2
I read at a fairly high level, but as usual, I find the legalese in this bill to be nigh unreadable, making it impossible to affirm or deny if your interpretation of it is correct or not.

RE: Not sure why I even bothered.
By rdawise on 7/3/2012 6:23:59 PM , Rating: 3
@Trisped you do understand that this bill basically states as long as you have dail-up (yes dail-up can reach over 56K with compression) you can never* (extreme term I know) for a municpal ISP to get broadband servive. DO you know how many rural areas have access to dial-up, almost everyone. Know how many have access to broadband, almost none.

You already hit the nail on the head when you saw that they defined broadband at 190 kbps. This was no accident...

Predictable But Sad
By Kyuu on 7/2/2012 9:02:45 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, gotta protect those poor ol' giant corporations like AT&T, Time Warner, Verizon, etc. from competition from municipalities who get sick of their exorbitant prices and shoddy service. God forbid they get "unfair" competition.

A state that is that regressive.
By Uncle on 7/2/2012 10:30:54 PM , Rating: 2
A state that is that regressive and obviously bought out by the Corporations, is not a state that I will be going too on my holidays. All those news items about crooked cops waiting behind Billboards to catch speeders, fits South Carolina to a tee, is off of my destination and I'll pass this along to all my friends.Things like this should be put up on the social networks. Its time to boycott states that treat their electorate this way. I've read of states that prey on tourists, this sounds like one of them. How do people vote and elect these morons that have been bought and paid for by Corporations, and to continue electing them year after year. I'll make sure to spread the news, thank God for the Internet.

By johnsmith9875 on 7/3/2012 11:14:19 AM , Rating: 2
Isn't government inefficient? The radical right has been telling us for decades now the government can't do anything well, so why all the protectionist laws?

By osserc on 7/3/2012 12:03:21 PM , Rating: 2
There is so much stupid in this comment thread it makes my head hurt.

This is such an old trick
By Graviton on 7/3/12, Rating: 0
quit yer @!*$@in
By Philippine Mango on 7/2/12, Rating: -1
RE: quit yer @!*$@in
By aurareturn on 7/2/2012 11:20:30 PM , Rating: 5
Yea but look at the competition.

I'm in Silicon Valley, the tech capital of the world. My options are AT&T DSL or Comcrap cable.

That's all. Those are all the consumer level competition. It's ridiculous.

RE: quit yer @!*$@in
By MadMan007 on 7/2/2012 11:57:53 PM , Rating: 5
Govt. has no business being in the utility business.

Seriously? Did you even think about this sentence before you wrote it?

RE: quit yer @!*$@in
By xthetenth on 7/3/2012 11:40:18 AM , Rating: 5
Either that or he's boycotting tap water.

RE: quit yer @!*$@in
By jeffkro on 7/3/2012 1:25:40 AM , Rating: 2
Wrong these municipalities weren't being served by corporations

RE: quit yer @!*$@in
By biker16us on 7/3/2012 9:36:38 AM , Rating: 3
I thought it was government FOR the PEOPLE and BY the people not government For corporation and own by those corporations. If people want their government to provide low cost internet service why shouldn't the people get what they want?

I guess we should privatize the interstate too. don't want any government interference in transportation, too.

RE: quit yer @!*$@in
By aharris02 on 7/3/2012 1:32:13 PM , Rating: 2
Wait, I thought corporations were people too!

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein

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