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NC House, big telecoms join forces in an effort to kill municipal broadband

North Carolina's Republican Congresswoman Julia Howard picked up more corporate sponsors than a NASCAR driver. Now she's repaying those that helped elect her and her fellow Republicans by passing a bill that threatens to kill municipal internet projects and North Carolina citizens' right to self-governance.  (Source: North Carolina Congress)

The bill contains language that would allow a state board to overall local citizens right to self-governance by giving them the discretion to prohibit services that passed a local vote.  (Source: Union County Public Schools)
Measure allows state officials to deny local citizens the right to self-governance

Telecom giants in North Carolina have been lobbying hard for several years now to try to stomp out municipal internet, phone, and cable television services that threatened their local monopolies or duopolies.  The effort looked at risk when they lost the support of Democrats this year, but thanks to some dedicated lobbying they managed to firmly convince the Republican majority to restrict local government's rights and enact a measure that presents a barrier to competitive municipal services.

North Carolina's State House has voted today to pass a critical bill, H.128 [PDF], by a margin of 81 to 37.  The bill, at face value, installs significant hurdles towards providing citizens municipal services.  

In that regard, many view it as a vote to preserve service providers’ monopolistic grip that allows them to charge NC residents exorbitant fees.

I. How Did We Get Here?

The bill was instigated by several towns/municipalities installing local government-backed services to offer citizens an alternative to local monopolies/duopolies.  Fed up with slow internet, limited cable channels, and high service costs, citizens banded together and pushed local officials to create municipal internet, cable TV, and phone services.

Places with such a service include Wilson, North Carolina (Greenlight, Inc.), Salisbury (Fibrant), Davidson (MI-Connection), and Morganton (CoMPAS Cable TV & Internet).

While the service was ratified by the municipal council/board, the projects were typically initiated on behalf of numerous complaints about local service providers' fees.  The municipal services' development spanned multiple years giving citizens time to vote politicians out of office if they didn't like the idea.  Further, many of the cities held town hall meetings gathering feedback.  Most citizens voiced enthusiastic support when the plan was clarified.

Under most of the current efforts, the city government first goes out and seeks loans in the private sector.  Typically these loans fall within the range of $25M-$45M USD.  

After obtaining loans, the local government then contracts private sector firms to install necessary infrastructure to create a competitive network to the local phone, cable television, or internet service.

Once installed the service is operated as an independent entity. 

The services so far have been a great asset to communities.  In Wilson, residents enjoy 10 Mbps internet from their municipality for $35/month, where they would have to pay $57/month to receive equivalent service from Time Warner, Inc. (TWX).  Further, businesses are offered a 1 Gbps line by the municipality -- something Time Warner claimed it's unable to offer at any price.

In short, the service seemed like a win for citizens.  The only clear loser seemed to be telecoms, which were forced to cut their prices and reduce their profits with the dissolution of their local monopolies.

II. Cracking Down on Municipal Internet

Politicians like Rep. Julia Howard (R-Davie, Iredell) contend that the municipal internet projects are unnecessary and worse yet can represent a malicious interest to business.  Rep. Marilyn Avila(R-Wake), who along with Rep. Howard co-sponsored the bill, says that legislation was needed to prevent "predatory" challenges to the private sector.

Indeed the bill's language is carefully worded to portray this side of the story.  It is entitled "Level Playing Field/Local Gov't Competition".  Its advocates claim that it will not ban municipal internet outright, but simply force them to "compete" with local telecoms.

As usual, there are always two sides of a story, however.

Critics point out that companies like Time Warner (cable internet), Embarq (DSL internet), AT&T (T) (cable TV), and CenturyLink, Inc. (CTL) (phone) have poured millions into lobbying the federal government to pass the initiative.

Many of the Republican congressmen sponsoring the bill reportedly received direct campaign donations from these companies.  For example bill co-sponsor Rep. Howard is accused of receiving $4,000 from CenturyLink, $750 from Time Warner, and $1,500 from AT&T.  

Critics say that even more money may be funneled through private donors.  They argue that the telecoms essentially paid for the Republican congressmen to be elected and now they're asking them to return the favor.

III. What's in the Bill?

Whether the telecom monopolists "bought" the NC Congress's vote or whether Congress really sought to create a "level playing field" with the most earnest of intentions, it's important to consider what's actually in the bill itself.

The bill begins by spelling out a set of provisions with which municipal service providers must comply.  Some of these provisions are redundant with existing federal laws but seem to serve as a vehicle to insert language inferring that municipal internet is somehow "discriminating" against telecoms.

For example, Provision 5 states that the municipal services:

Shall provide nondiscriminatory access to private communications service providers on a first-come, first-served basis to rights-of-way, poles, or conduits owned, leased, or operated by the city unless the facilities have insufficient capacity for the access and additional capacity cannot reasonably be added to the facilities. For purposes of this subdivision, the term "nondiscriminatory access" means that, at a minimum, access shall be granted on the same terms and conditions as that given to a city-owned communications service provider.

The Clinton administration's Telecommunications Act of 1996 forces all implementers of U.S. telecommunications networks to interconnect their networks and allow for common use.  Thus it is unclear exactly why this language is necessary.  Again, this appears designed to paint a misleading picture, suggesting that there's some sort of phantom conspiracy against business where there is none.

Other provisions offer confusing limitations to the powers of local government.  For example one bans the use of city funds to finance the projects.  It states:

Shall not subsidize the provision of communications service with funds from any other noncommunications service, operation, or other revenue source, including any funds or revenue generated from electric, gas, water, sewer, or garbage services.

In other words, Republicans are arguing, even if local citizens want to band together and spend local government funds on municipal projects they are prohibited from doing so.  Thus the state government is essentially robbing the citizens of the right to self-governance, because they argue, the locals might make an "immoral" decision to threaten the local telecom's monopoly/duopoly.

Provision 9 offers a further restriction:

The city shall annually remit to the general fund of the city an amount equivalent to all taxes or fees a private communications service provider would be required to pay the city or county in which the city is located, including any applicable tax refunds received by the city-owned communications service provider because of its government status and a sum equal to the amount of property tax that would have been due if the city-owned communications service provider were a private communications service provider.

In other words, the city has to pay local taxes to itself.  The point is not just to inconvenience the projects, though.  Combined with the previous provision it means that the city has to yearly apply taxes to itself which cannot be returned to reinvest in the internet service.  This puts the service at a bafflingly disadvantageous web of self-taxation and denial of funding.

Provision 8 puts municipal services at an even greater disadvantage, stating, "[They] shall not price any communications service below the cost of providing the service."

Thus local governments are outlawed from offering the kinds of promotional rates that telecoms regularly provide.  So while the bill claims to be "fair" it clearly creates a situation that gives the monopolistic telecoms at advantages by granting them additional rights and privileges that the local government is forbidden access to.

The bill offers exemptions to existing services, but the exemptions do not cover the most damaging provisions (outlined above).  Thus existing services will be affected virtually the same as new services.

The legislation does contain an additional measure that may further block new services, though.

The bill states that all municipalities looking to implement new services must first go through a number of steps (hold two town hall meetings on the issue, collect bids, hold a special election on the topic of incurring private sector debt to finance the project, etc.).  All of these steps seem relatively reasonable, and are in fact in line with what occurred with many of the current projects.

But the "catch" as they say, is that the city then has to submit a proposal to a state Commission.  That Commission will have complete authority whether to accept or reject the proposal.  States the bill:

The city or joint agency making the application to the Commission shall bear the burden of persuasion with respect to subdivisions (1) through (4) of this section.

Thus while the bill does not ban new municipal internet projects, it hands the state government the legal power to do so.

IV. Conclusion -- A Business Sponsored Tool to Kill Municipal Services

The decision by state Republicans to allow state government to ban local citizens from self-governance at their discretion is a particularly surprising one given that the national Republican party has emphasized shrinking federal government and putting more power in the hands of local governments.  

The big winners here are clearly the politicians who obtained the finances they needed to get into office and the telecoms, who move a step closer to safeguarding their monopolies from pesky municipal projects.  

The biggest losers are local governments and the state's citizens.  For all their hard work in creating cash-positive municipal services that beat the quality and price of previous monopoly/duopoly offerings, they now must fear that their service may be slowly choked and shut off by the state government.



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America's Own System
By Raiders12 on 3/30/2011 9:49:09 PM , Rating: 5
It just goes to show you that while our country of freedom and "free market" seems like a good idea, it works against us as well. The concept works extremely well when we don't have elected officials who are for their own selfish ambitions and luxuries, rather than the best interest of our citizens and our country.
God forbid someone steps up to the plate, hires PRIVATE contractors (aka BUSINESS) to improve the infrastructure and benefit the citizens from monopolistic business practices. The cities were even turning a profit, in a time when budget cuts are happening across the board. It doesn't even matter blue,red,elephant,mule,liberal,conserv, or green, a good majority of our politicians are disgusting.




RE: America's Own System
By Lerianis on 3/30/11, Rating: -1
RE: America's Own System
By MikeMurphy on 3/31/2011 2:24:25 AM , Rating: 2
The telecom argument neglects the idea that had they provided better service in the first place there would be no taxpayer support to create a redundant high-speed network.

Not surprising.


RE: America's Own System
By mdogs444 on 3/31/2011 8:49:14 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
we have various non-profits who are getting into and giving some real competition to some for-profit people

While in general I would agree with this statement, lets not confused the basic term non-profit. They do not operate as a "break-even" entity. They still operate to make just as much profits as private companies do. The difference being that they do not pay out to shareholders. Their CEO's still have huge salaries and bonuses, lavish benefits, very generous retirement packages, etc. I work for a non-profit, and the misguided notion that we charge lower prices because we don't need to make profits is simply untrue.

The real problem that I have with any sort of government provided service/entity is not the basic service itself. Its the fact that they can operate at a loss for a while to get rid of private sector companies, and then they can operate as a monopoly charging whatever they want. The simple fact is that they will use it as a revenue builder for other entitlement programs by artificially jacking up prices in order to pay for government programs that have nothing to do with their internet or phone services.

The ability to operate at a loss and pass laws intentionally to prop up your own business while punishing others is why a free-market capitalist system frowns upon the government (be it Federal, State, or Local) from owning businesses that compete in the private sector.


RE: America's Own System
By mcnabney on 3/31/2011 11:16:55 AM , Rating: 2
For-profit companies can operate at a loss.

Hell, Sprint hasn't been profitable for six years.


RE: America's Own System
By TechIsGr8 on 3/31/2011 11:57:35 AM , Rating: 2
Who gives a rat's arse about their profits? This is about what's best for American citizens, not American corporations. I love all the dimwits who demonize government. When was the last time your granny didn't receive her social security check? And by the way, social security wouldn't be considered an "entitlement", because we all pay into it.


RE: America's Own System
By mdogs444 on 3/31/11, Rating: 0
RE: America's Own System
By Mahazy on 3/31/2011 2:30:01 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
...social security wouldn't be considered an "entitlement", because we all pay into it.


You're right.. the government taxing the citizens then taking that money and giving it to people on welfare isn't an entitlement either!

Use your brain. It's not about what's best for some corporations. It's the difference between a nanny state with lots of waste and corruption versus private companies (made up of good American's too) providing a product or service. Look at the social security program. If we could actually put all the money going into that into our own private accounts for 30 years you can bet it would be a better pay out than what the government is giving us. Not to mention the fact that the government has raided social security to pay for other programs that needed the cash. Now SSI is in the red and what's left... IOU's from other government agencies that can't pay it back.

Is any of this sinking in??


RE: America's Own System
By zixin on 3/31/2011 5:31:06 PM , Rating: 3
Are you sure about that? Did the collapse of Lehman Brothes and the near collapse of AIG along with the rest of finance market taught you nothing? How about the whole Madoff scam? At least when the government borrow money from SS it is used on government projects. When the private industries take their management fees for SS it goes straight into the coporate bank account.


RE: America's Own System
By jay401 on 3/31/2011 5:50:38 PM , Rating: 2
Uhm hello, American corporations ARE American citizens. Sorry you've fallen for the propaganda that makes private-sector businesses out to be some sort of mechanical robotic inhuman entity. Newsflash: "Corporations" actual consist of PEOPLE. Business owners who in turn employ lots of other American citizens in their companies. So "what's best for American citizens" when juxtaposed with "American corporations" is a red herring, because American citizens are part and parcel of American corporations.


RE: America's Own System
By Lazarus Dark on 3/31/2011 8:32:32 PM , Rating: 2
The intents and deeds of corporations can be led by a few corrupt individuals though, who will guide that company to do great harm to the general population. The general population does not have any representation within that company even though what it does may affect their lives; as with many monopolies, a few greedy CEO's can make life difficult for many US citizens.

Thus, the general population does need their elected government to protect them from the misdeeds and mal-intent of corporations.

It's sad(disturbing) when that elected government takes the side of these corporations led by a few greedy individuals over the wishes of it's own citizens.


RE: America's Own System
By Conficio on 3/31/2011 8:52:06 PM , Rating: 2
You got a few things wrong here:
* Corporations are not citizens. Citizens are human beeings, not animals, not buildings, not cars, cell phones, or corporations.
** And citizens are fully liable to the state and their fellow citizens for their actions. If I burn down your house, even by accident I have to make you whole (pay you the demage) even if it exceeds my life time income (beyond a base survival rate to feed and close myself).
** Corporations exist in order to limit the liability. That means if a corporation by its actions burns down your house, it pays until it can't any more, desolves and that is the end of it. The intend of allowing corporations has always been to limit other rights that an individual might enjoy in exchange for that limited liability.
*** I'm aware that there are limitations to what I say (i.e. personal bankruptcy, etc.), but at least that is the principle. Adn there is also chapter 11 bankruptzy for corporatiosn on the flip side.
* Now the owner's or managers (officers) of a corporation are not the corporation. They can enjoy the benefits of the corporation (collect the profits) as long as everything goes well, and wash their hands in the limited liability if things demage somone elses property or rights. That means the owners and officers of the corporation keep their dividends, salery and bonuses they have gotten while the compoany ran a profit (and at the same time did the demage, like spoiling a river or endangerign people with unsafe drugs). When it is time to pay the liability they are sacked and start over with a new corporation. At least owners do loose their interest in the corporation, while managers move on to the next gig.
* Coporoations consisting of people is very true, but "consist of" is not the same than being people. In a corporation the people are very different. Typically management makes 30 times and more in saleries and bonuses then the folks that are employed at will. I leave the disparity of power as an excercise for you.
* Cities and Towns consist of people too and they can actually be considered the people, as they democratically rule themselves.

Corporations and their managers want you to believe they are citizens so they can enjoy the rights of free speech, buying polititions in their favor, etc. But that is not the truth. Read your constituion for a change.


RE: America's Own System
By AEvangel on 3/31/2011 12:23:27 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
The ability to operate at a loss and pass laws intentionally to prop up your own business while punishing others is why a free-market capitalist system frowns upon the government (be it Federal, State, or Local) from owning businesses that compete in the private sector.


A TRUE free market system doesn't frown upon Govt, it has no need for it...since a true free market system would have real competition. That would provide the services better and cheaper with each passing competitor, thus people would never turn to their Govt to provide the answer simply because the free market would have already provided it. But in case here the Govt has allowed a monopoly/duopoly strangle hold on the services and not allowed true competition to exist.


RE: America's Own System
By mdogs444 on 3/31/2011 1:48:04 PM , Rating: 3
Very true. But adding more government intervention to solve a problem of too much government intervention doesn't make much sense, does it?


RE: America's Own System
By Firebat5 on 4/3/2011 12:05:09 AM , Rating: 2
+1


RE: America's Own System
By The Raven on 3/30/2011 11:08:44 PM , Rating: 5
This is not proof of anything wrong with the free market.
You have to take into account the fact that it seems most people these days do not value their freedom, and so they are easily denied it.

If people invested their time into governing themselves instead of following the Kardashians' twitter feeds they would be active participants in the free market as free citizens. But when they set their gov't on auto pilot and then check out... they will be governed in an unsatisfactory manner. And as that happens, the free market gets less and less free.

So basically I contend it is not a truly free market because of "vegetative citizens." If they were active in their gov't (as they need to be to protect their freedom) this move by the telecoms wouldn't stand a chance.


RE: America's Own System
By The Raven on 3/30/2011 11:11:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
This is not proof of anything wrong with the free market.
Sorry, I meant a free market; as in a free-market economy. Obviously, there is something wrong with the "free market" of the US (as I explained).


RE: America's Own System
By Zshazz on 3/31/2011 2:08:24 AM , Rating: 5
Furthermore, this has nothing to do with a/the free market. Time Warner has been given a legal monopoly. This is exactly the opposite of free market principles.

If anything, this shows that going against a/the free market is a bad idea. Even when you initially think "oh, the cost savings of not having a bunch of providers trying to compete on providing cable/broadband service will result in lower prices", things like this show that you're wrong.


RE: America's Own System
By Samus on 3/31/2011 10:50:45 AM , Rating: 1
Unfortunately I agree. Many people subliminally don't want freedom and want to be told what to do. Union workers, low-ranking military, city workers, etc, all enjoy the vegetative lifestyle because all they care about is the 9-5, lack of responsibility and watching the "game."

You know the New York Times did a random poll a few weeks ago and around HALF the people they talked too didn't even know who our Vice President was? 96% of people didn't even know how many members of the house there are!

How can you live in a truely free country if you don't even know the most basic elements of your governing body?


RE: America's Own System
By The Raven on 4/1/2011 12:06:01 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
You know the New York Times did a random poll a few weeks ago and around HALF the people they talked too didn't even know who our Vice President was? 96% of people didn't even know how many members of the house there are!
I know who the veep is but I wish I didn't! I wish I could've saved that part of my brain for something useful ;-)

As for the members of the house... I'd let them off on that one, but if they don't know how many senators there are... they shouldn't be allowed to vote (or make large purchases lol).


RE: America's Own System
By Lerianis on 4/2/2011 3:25:15 AM , Rating: 1
Right in one. Too many companies today have been giving a government approved monopoly and we need to stop that. Hell, a lot of these multi-national companies need to be broken up in my opinion as Ma Bell was in the past.

Sure, she glued herself back together after awhile, but only because the feds allowed her to do that.


RE: America's Own System
By superPC on 3/31/2011 9:24:50 AM , Rating: 2
free market? is there such thing now? with corporation trying to gain as much control and power over the market with any means necessary (and as big as they are today that could really mean anything, from bribing and coercing your biggest buyer to abandon your competition ala intel, to price fixing ala the airline company a few years back) and the government mucking around with regulation and try to “free” the market, its anything but free right now. true capitalism and free market is what big corporation really fear and that's why we don't see it except in a few specific cases.


RE: America's Own System
By Conficio on 3/31/2011 9:13:20 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with the things you say. But I'd like you to consider the modern state of advertising on a mass scale as being impossible to not inform your judgement.

It is hard to say if anybody has any "free will" left, if everybody is under a constant barrage of advertisement (for goods and ideas or ideology) it is close to impossible to keep a free mind.

I'd like you to consider the unequal nature of todays advertising realities:
* On the one side there is the professional seducer, called marketer. There are scores of smart people that use any bit of research and knowledge about the human behavior to influence anybody in their favor. And this goes far beyond goods to consume but includes ideas and politcal opinions and groupings. On top of that they have the ability to influence masses through mass media in a few hours or days (TV, viral advertisement, ...)
* On the other side is the individual who can't stay clear of such advertisment that induces consumer demand in every one of us (or when did you last time sample the available spagetti brands at your super market and made an informed decision based on taste and cookability alone [not to mention back ground research on the sutainability]) way beyond any needs. It also does influence the political opinion of any voter.
* And it apparently works quite well. Otherwise companies would not spend 40%+ of the end consumer price in advertising on various levels (store, brand, whole sale, advertising of the incredience to the manufacturer, adviertising of machines, even advertising of governments to attract businesses to locate there).
* And it works quite well on the politcal level too. Why else would the lobbying industry be a multi billion industry? Why else would the candidates for office only be considered a serious contender if they were independently wealthy or awash with campaign donations from large interest groups?
* In advertisement, the challenge is not to influence the target subject, YOU, but to influence you more, better, faster, earlier in life, for longer lasting impact, etc. then the competition. YOU are like a wax candle in the sun. It is just a question which side is melting you first.

So you think people can have a free will?


RE: America's Own System
By The Raven on 3/31/2011 11:56:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So you think people can have a free will?
YES!!!
That is my point. It is much easier to just listen to the advertisers and the gov't and wear the clothes the Kardashians are wearing and listening to the music that the radio DJs play. If you want to contribute to society, and more importantly to protecting/appreciating your freedom, then you would shake off those beggars and make informed decisions that benefit yourself and the society around you.

The can have free will but they chose the easy path to hell. Not me. I am ever vigilant that our freedoms are under constant threat just because someone wants to make life easier by taking away others' freedoms.

It seems the big problem is our constant craving for more more more. You can't make well informed decisions when you have so many things to decide. We only have 24 hrs in a day. It is hard to say "no" to the latest car or phone or whatever but the manufacturers and gov't make it so easy to say "yes."


RE: America's Own System
By Lerianis on 4/2/2011 3:28:50 AM , Rating: 1
The Raven, we have had 'so many things to decide' for years. That isn't the problem. The problem is that people are having to work 60+ hours to survive in America today, so they have very little time left to make decisions on a wide range of things.


RE: America's Own System
By Hiawa23 on 3/31/2011 10:01:11 AM , Rating: 3
It doesn't even matter blue,red,elephant,mule,liberal,conserv, or green, a good majority of our politicians are disgusting.

I agree, our whole political system which is geered for the top % earners is disgusting, & many of us middle class & lower are sliding backwards, & they don't have our best interests in mind at all, no matter who you put in office. I have almost to a point where I have given up on our system.


RE: America's Own System
By Dr of crap on 3/31/2011 12:49:24 PM , Rating: 2
Almost given up!!!

Do you still believe you vote counts for anything?


RE: America's Own System
By Dr of crap on 3/31/2011 10:55:22 AM , Rating: 4
It's not free market - it's the fact that money can be given to elected officials and ask them to vote in a certain way.

How this is still in effect I will not understand.
I know the politicians make the laws, but are we the people not understanding the problems that this "lobbying" has caused???????

We need to stop the money flowing to the damn politicians to make REFORM happen. Electing a certain person will IN NO WAY MAKE reform happen.


RE: America's Own System
By 91TTZ on 3/31/2011 12:15:42 PM , Rating: 4
Agreed. This seems to be the root cause of the corruption in government right now. Money should not be allowed to flow to politicians from sources which benefit from the politicians' decisions.


RE: America's Own System
By erple2 on 4/4/2011 9:53:55 AM , Rating: 2
I can see how that would be completely impossible to word in an effective, clear legal bill. Do you mean anyone, including a corporation, or any entity whatsoever?


RE: America's Own System
By Taft12 on 3/31/2011 12:20:04 PM , Rating: 2
Well it's easy to understand why this is in effect. What's hard is changing the system - look no further than the Middle East and North Africa to see what it's going to require.


RE: America's Own System
By tng on 3/31/2011 1:10:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
What's hard is changing the system - look no further than the Middle East and North Africa to see what it's going to require.
It really is worse than that, if you think about it. In the Mid-East and Africa they are just booting out dictators and putting in elected governments, here the job is much bigger.

Consider if you replaced all 535 members of congress plus the president in the next 3 election cycles. All of the new people were dedicated to cutting spending and corruption. Nothing they could do would make a difference, because you still have the bureaucracy in place. There are 10s of thousands of federal government workers that don't want change and they would see to it that it did not happen....


RE: America's Own System
By Raiders12 on 3/31/2011 1:16:19 PM , Rating: 2
I also would like to let it be known that I believe in our ideals, economic principles, and freedoms. I am no advocating communism, or anything of the sort. I also don't want to turn this into a heated political debate, despite this being directly related to politics.
Like it has been said, until we can restrict the flow of $$ towards the Govt and lobbyists, its just going to get worse. We are becoming wealthier and wealthier, economically as a nation, yet its not truly showing. Our housing is still reeling, unemployment barely moves (changed to around 8.9% estimates I believe), the Govt is spending more than it takes in, yet our GDP grows. Its a truly FUBAR situation.
Also these politicians should be restricted to terms, no one should EVER be a CAREER politician. The system was designed for intelligent/charismatic people who were leaders to lead the citizens off free elections. Then when time was up, time to go back to your real job. These 10-20 yr legacy politicians are a a sham. Then they get retirement packages. Im only 21 and probably already pay more into my 401k and Social Security then most of these bozos.


RE: America's Own System
By seraphim1982 on 4/1/2011 1:51:42 PM , Rating: 2
It is America's problem.....
Its political system has so much investment from corporations, that the everyday person best interests are not kept in mind. To me personally, it is quite the opposite of democracy.


By PaterPelligrino on 3/31/2011 4:08:12 AM , Rating: 1
The Republican party has never represented the interests of anyone but the rich and powerful, at least not in my lifetime. What is really amazing about politics in the US is that people actually believe all the propaganda about how the Republicans care about the average citizen.

The Jesus, abortion, gay marriage, gun stuff has always been a smokescreen to get elected. Republicans only advocate small government in order to reduce taxes on the rich and the businesses they own. The single biggest priority for the Republicans has always been eliminating inheritance taxes on the mega-wealthy. Tell me how that's going to improve the lives of the other 99+% of the people in this country.

You might dislike the legislative agenda of the Democrats, but if you think the Republicans are a viable alternative, you really should pull your head out of Rush's butt and take a good look at what these people are really after.




RE: Behold the true face of the Republican party
By integr8d on 3/31/2011 7:03:51 AM , Rating: 2
You must've missed the OP's statement about the Dems that also turned tail. And it's something I'd like for him to update, as I feel that he tried to paint this entirely as the fault of the right wing at the end of his article (not so much that I feel it; he actually did)... You could've had a 100% Dem legislature and the money would've still found a way in. Just ask Mel Watt.

Recall the push for national healthcare. You had a Dem White House, Senate and House. Total control. No opposition. And instead of getting the Utopian dream of socialized medicine that you were promised, you got forked over to private insurance companies:) And it's mandated too -lol. At least one Dem spoke up, recently, and said that the healthcare bill does zero to deal w/ the cost of medicine. He'll be fired promptly.

Wake up, kid. Business and banks run this country. Doesn't matter whose side you picked. If you like the spin the left puts out, when bending you over, by all means, enjoy. But don't be so foolish as to believe there's a difference between the two parties. Individuals? Maybe. Kucinich, Gravel, Nader, the Pauls? Those guys, yes. The rest; bought and paid for shills.

"The single biggest priority for the Republicans has always been eliminating inheritance taxes on the mega-wealthy. Tell me how that's going to improve the lives of the other 99+% of the people in this country."

I'll tell you. If you took however many billions those people had and divvied it up between each and every American, you'd have what? $2,000? $3,000 each? The 99+% of the country that you speak of would burn through that in a matter of weeks. So short answer is; everyone gets a new flat screen, about $100 goes toward paying the $7,000 credit card balanced that they 'swore they were going to put it all into paying off' and 3 or 4 nights of going to the movies after hogging out at the Sizzler... That's America. If I can deal with it, you can too.


By PaterPelligrino on 3/31/2011 9:09:31 AM , Rating: 2
I have no illusions about the Democratic party being immune to the corrupting influence of money - but they are definitely the lesser of two evils. Virtually every piece of progressive legislation in the last 100 years has come from the Democrats. If the powers behind the Republican party had their way, there would be no minimum wage, no Social Security, no unemployment insurance, no environmental laws, no corporate taxes, no unions; i.e., no legal limits on the economic behavior of the wealthy whatsoever - think Dickensian-era England.

What struck me about this article is that the Republicans are supposed to be about government getting out of the way of the average guy, yet here we have the direct opposite of that vaunted philosophy. The truth is that the Republicans are about government getting out of the way of the rich, they don't give a sh't about the average guy. Anybody with half a dozen brain cells has long ago seen through the Repubs.

About the health care fiasco: the Republicans fought that legislation tooth and nail, and they were one vote away from filibuster veto power, so Obama had to satisfy every Democrat, and some of the Dems are in the pocket of either big-money home-state insurance interests and/or prey to conservative electorates. If Obama had had even a few Republican supporters, he could have crafted a much better health-care law. However, in that whole debate, the Republicans were never interested in giving this country a decent health-care system; it was defeat Obama, no matter what the substance of the proposed law, at any cost, and f'ck those who couldn't afford heath care.

That business and banks run this country is not something I would argue with.

Who cares how much progressive taxes on the rich would put in everyone's pocket, the issue is interesting because it clearly shows where the Republican priorities lie, with the rich.


By nct on 3/31/2011 11:11:34 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
I have no illusions about the Democratic party being immune to the corrupting influence of money - but they are definitely the lesser of two evils.


Please, ALL politicians are after two things, and two things only: your money and your vote. If you think they actually care about "giving this country a decent health-care system" or any other "piece of progressive legislation" they are selling, you are blind. What they care about is maintaining the illusion that they are acting on the behalf of the people that elected them into office so they can continue to enjoy the lifelong free ride. If it pleases you to believe the shit they are selling smells better because it comes in a red package instead of blue, then by all means buy it up, but the box is still going to be filled with nothing but a pile of steaming turds.


RE: Behold the true face of the Republican party
By integr8d on 3/31/11, Rating: -1
By PaterPelligrino on 4/2/2011 1:30:03 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know where you're coming from; all I see is a lot of incoherent rage of the cynicism-is-easy, I'm-so-much-wiser-than-you-dupes variety. Meanwhile, back in the real world, choosing the lesser of two evils is usually the only choice we have. Let me know what you're doing to achieve this perfect world you pine for.

Your comment on reserving health care for terminal cases ignores the fact that it's far cheaper to provide preventative medicine than to wait until somebody needs a heart transplant - the old ounce of prevention adage.

Of course $8/hr minimum wage sucks, but it sucks less that the 4 most of these people would be getting if the Republicans had their way. No unemployment insurance and the laid-off guy with a family to feed would be forced to accept the first thing that came along, condemning himself to a downward spiral. Yah, brilliant point about Social Security, if we were all Warren Buffets, who would need SS. Unions are the only orgs in this country acting as a counterweight to the overwhelming power of business to dictate terms to the working guy. As the unions disappear, note how all the economic gains of the last 20 years have gone to the wealthiest 10% of the US population. What distinguishes your opinions is the sacrifice of practicality on the altar of ideological zeal.

You decry the influence of banks and big business on the legislative process, but claim to be a fiscal conservative. History has taught that when wealth is not controlled, the inevitable result is the concentration of ever increasing money and power in fewer and fewer hands; and human nature being what it is, the powerful will do everything they can to safeguard their privileges. The liberal policies right-wing fanatics so despise owe their very existence to the very-real excesses of unregulated wealth. Ever study European economic history, ever read Oliver Twist? The laissez-faire, Ayn-Rand guys are just as impractical as the Marxists: both economic systems - theories divorced from the realities of human nature - lead to the abuse of the many by the few.

If the world really were run as the rich behind the Republican "egalitarian" facade desire, there would be no meritocracy or equality for anyone who couldn't afford it. Already, the better Ivy League schools have expressed concern that they can't find enough qualified students from lower income families - but then how can someone whose parents can't pay the rent or feed themselves hope to send their kids to the elite institutions that exist to prepare students for the better universities. I went to university surrounded by these "hot house" kids; students who were sent off to Europe for the summer holidays to study languages, attended violin lessons fours times a week form the age of 4, did application-friendly charity work, had expensive tutors to prepare them for the SATs and help write their application essays. None of the roommates I had at college had ever worked a day in their lives. Meritocracy in this country died years ago. Even the arch-conservative Economist magazine did a piece on the myth of American meritocracy. If you're one of the rare conservatives who ever read dissenting opinions, check it out: http://www.economist.com/node/3518560

What really pisses me off is the hypocrisy of the Republicans and the naivety of those who buy into their lies. Turning to the Republicans because you think the Democrats are not representing the interests of the common man, is like turning to Mafioso loan sharks because you think the local bank is charging too high a processing fee on your checks.

Typical of Republican hypocrisy is the Koch brothers. When one ran as the vice-president on the Libertarian ticket in 1980, he promised to abolish, among other things, Social Security, welfare, minimum-wage laws, and corporate taxes - all those things that make being rich in this country such a bummer. Were supposed to think that if the billionaire Kochs don't need Social Security or minimum wage guarantees, no American does. Welcome to the sweet life of the new American hereditary aristocrat.

The Koch brothers are living examples of how success is yours for the taking in the US. Unlike the lazy poor working minimum-wage jobs at Micky D's, these hard-working guys pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps, taking the paltry 300 million dollars/oil company they inherited from daddy and turning it into a billion dollar empire. They did well at the elite schools dad sent them to. Since these average guys showed us all how it can be done with no help from anyone but mega-rich dad, why do we need big gov't looking out for the poor in this great country of ours? Is it any wonder that the Tea Party is being financed by these small-gov't, get-out-of-my-rich-face Koch types?

That's right middle-class America, the mega-rich have the solution to all your economic problems: just drop your pants, bend over, grab your ankles and wait for all that tickle-down goodness from the billionaire backers of the Tea Party and their legislative lap-dogs in the Republican Party. Apparently, being buttfk'd by the people you so admire just feels so good - well enjoy it, it's as close to being a member of the Republican elite as the toadies to the rich are going to get.


RE: Behold the true face of the Republican party
By maven81 on 3/31/2011 10:03:37 AM , Rating: 2
"Recall the push for national healthcare. You had a Dem White House, Senate and House. Total control. No opposition.

That's BS and you know it. Does the word filibuster ring a bell?

"Wake up, kid. Business and banks run this country. Doesn't matter whose side you picked. If you like the spin the left puts out, when bending you over, by all means, enjoy. But don't be so foolish as to believe there's a difference between the two parties."

And your nihilism is not helping old man. I see only one party actively engaging in class warfare despite your platitudes. You can stick your head in the sand and do your they are both as bad speech, or you can make sure things don't get any worse then they are. This "oh they are both just as bad" crap worked so well in 2000 huh.


RE: Behold the true face of the Republican party
By mdogs444 on 3/31/11, Rating: 0
RE: Behold the true face of the Republican party
By maven81 on 3/31/2011 12:16:45 PM , Rating: 3
"The bill was passed in the Senate by reconciliation (50 votes + Biden), and therefore filibuster had no effect."

The bill that ultimately passed was not the same bill that was originally put fourth now was it? It had to get quite a few things stripped out of it because the republicans would have forced the requirement for 60 votes to include a public option. Which incidentally is the same issue the article is talking about when it comes to telecoms... municipal internet was essentially a public option.

"You're right, the democrats are actively engaged in class warfare. Their solution for EVERYTHING is to tax the rich and redistribution of wealth. Every excuse in the book you can find - racism, sexism, sexual orientation, immigration status, etc - are all actively being used as excuses to increase taxes and create more entitlements for the 40% who do NOT pay taxes."

I don't know why people on this site keep spouting stuff when it can be verified in minutes. Show me one example of the current administration raising taxes on the rich. ONE. On the other hand, redistribution of wealth is exactly what we have with the republicans. What do you think corporate tax breaks are? That's money that's not going into the budget. Who do you think will have to pay for that budget shortfall? And funny, I could have sworn just the other day there was an article about GE not paying taxes... cry me a friggin river.

"Well, it hasn't worked out so well since 2008 has it? That was the argument against McCain is that he was just as liberal as Obama...a closet Rhino. In turn, we've been stuck with do nothing, hypocritical dolt who's only concern is taxing the rich, giving handouts to the black population, and telling everyone we should like Muslims."

Or it could have had something to do with the possibility of oh, I don't know, president Palin? And oh yeah, that McCain was real liberal, you know instigating a war with Russia over Georgia and all. As for the other stuff you said, seems to me this do nothing president just started a war in Lybia... something I don't support. He loves Muslims so much he decided to bomb them. Funny that. He also signed an extension of tax cuts for the rich... yeah, that taxing the rich thing is going really swell.


RE: Behold the true face of the Republican party
By mdogs444 on 3/31/11, Rating: 0
By maven81 on 3/31/2011 4:41:10 PM , Rating: 2
"How about the tanning bed tax for one - not many poor people use a tanning bed. In fact, I'm pretty sure not many black people use that either, no?"

You have figures to back that up? According to the tanning industry itself this effects an estimated 28 million people. You're seriously going to tell me that most of them are rich?

"How about we look just at his proposed 2012 budget in terms of taxation?"

Congratulations on simply pasting NRCC talking points. There's only one problem... This is a proposed budget, which as of right now means absolutely nothing. We haven't even passed the budget for this year yet!
Second, if you actually read the budget, instead of cherry picked propaganda you'd realize that this is simply dishonest. It's the result of letting Bush's old tax cuts expire. Tax cuts that were supposed to expire anyway but got extended... by the democrats.
Frankly I WISH they'd increase the rates to the levels they were under clinton. They haven't done that, that's the whole point. Also why anyone making less then 250,000 would see this as a bad thing if it actually was true is beyond me.

"I'm not sure if you're being naive, or if you're really that obtuse. Corporations DO NOT pay taxes. How many times do people have to say it? If you increases taxes on a corporation, all they do is increase the price of the products to offset it, forcing the tax increase to be paid by the normal middle class consumer."

Now that is just precious. Of course they pay taxes. (Unless they find loopholes or receive tax breaks). You're seriously arguing that we should make them not pay any taxes because they might raise their prices and take it out on the consumer? And you call me a moron?! You want us to live like hostages?

"A tax on business is nothing more than a tax on the middle class employee - no matter how you spin it."

Don't be stupid. By that logic a tax decrease to business would mean instant savings to the middle class. That obviously doesn't happen no matter how many times trickle down fanatics like you repeat it. Businesses can raise their prices at any time for any reason.

"You really are a moron. The people who pay for the products are the same ones who will pay for the budget shortfall."

They will pay alright! But not for the reason you state. Let me explain this simple concept since you obviously don't get it... The government takes in less tax money from big business because they gave them a tax cut. They now have a budget shortfall. But the government still needs that money to function. They have only two choices, spend money they don't have (creating a bigger deficit), or raise taxes on everyone else (who is not big business) to cover that income disparity. Of course if the government is really retarded (like say you're the governor of florida) you can increase your deficit by giving tax breaks, while at the same time redistribute the wealth, redirecting say your education budget to those tax cuts for business. Now you have shittier schools, and you STILL have a deficit. Brilliant stuff.


By trooper11 on 3/31/2011 10:47:53 AM , Rating: 2
I dont know which side you think it engaging in class warfare, but i think its clear both sides have used it when it gives them an advantage. Although it always seems like the democrats are more vocal about it when they use it.

This all boils down to which ideology you agree with and then voting for those that are on the same page. Thats how change is made. If you stop caring and just assume everyone running for office is the same, then nothing will change.

As far as the health care bill goes, i agree that there was opposition, but there wasnt much they could do. Yes there is the filibuster but it wouldnt have stopped the Dems ultimately, it would have just been spun as Republicans being the bad guy. Maybe they should have just left congress like they did in Wisconsin.


By Dr of crap on 3/31/2011 12:57:58 PM , Rating: 1
Get off your political horse and actually see the forest.
NO PLOITICIAN, be it rebuplican of democrat is worth the spit on the ground. Period.

If you think otherwise, I've good some great flat land near a big river that only floods every 100 years!


MI Connection is no Greenlight, Inc.
By Mitch101 on 3/30/2011 10:05:29 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
In Wilson, residents enjoy 10 Mbps internet from their municipality for $35/month

Great for them but I live where MI-Connection is available and $35.00 is not an option
http://www.mi-connection.com/index.php?option=com_...

8 Meg/ 1 Meg
Single Play $57.95/mo
Double Play $44.95/mo
Triple Play $39.95/mo
Plus there is a fee if your not a subscriber of cable.

For $67.00 I get a 20meg connection from TimeWarner that same package is $82.95/mo from MI-Connection.

On top of it MI-Connection was paid for by our taxes, they increased local property taxes to pay for it, and since MI-Connection offers less feature/channels/options than what Time Warner offers its losing money. Because they are losing money they wanna use taxes to keep it running.

Maybe the people running things in Wilson can show MI-Connection a few things. But then I suspect MI-Connection is a crooked operation of the good ole boys getting lifelong jobs at the expense of the tax payer.

MI-Connection says cash needs total $17m through ’13
http://davidsonnews.net/2011/03/11/mi-connection-s...




By Chris Simmo on 3/31/2011 4:23:17 AM , Rating: 1
Haha, I live in Aus. I have a 15Mb connection with 200gb a month download/unlimited upload and I pay $49au a month. America's communications networks suck! Even mobiles. Have an iPhone and a HTC desire HD with 1.5gb data for the iPhone and 2GB data for the Desire and $1050 worth of calls, free unlimited SMS and MMS for $109!

Its not the best in the world, but from what I read America, considering its population size for development of infrastructure is closer to that of a 2nd world country. Again, just what i've read. They have the services, but you better have the cash for it.


By InsidiousAngel on 3/31/2011 9:53:07 AM , Rating: 2
While your option is overpriced, at least you are given additional high-speed options. Here is Greensboro, we are not so lucky. With the exception of those who have U-VERSE in their area, you have no choice but to use Time Warner, which here our best High Speed 'turbo' package is 12Mbps down, 512Kbps up, which runs $67 unless you have their package which keeps going up by $17 every year. The only shimmer of light is we are getting their 'wideband' service later this year, which is suppose to be up to 50Mbps.

I was very sad to hear Greensboro lost the Google bid, not that I was too surprised. North State PLEX service just needs to hurry up and move in.
http://northstate.net/productpage.php?id=157&landi...


RE: MI Connection is no Greenlight, Inc.
By mdogs444 on 3/31/2011 10:05:08 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
But then I suspect MI-Connection is a crooked operation of the good ole boys getting lifelong jobs at the expense of the tax payer.

And you think that a service based entity being paid for by the taxpayers and being run by politicians, who make the laws that you have to abide by, will somehow have a different result?

It would be nothing more than crooked politicians having lifelong jobs and kickbacks courtesy of the taxpayer. The difference would be that they have control of the legal system to make laws that would render their actions legal.


RE: MI Connection is no Greenlight, Inc.
By Taft12 on 3/31/2011 12:21:48 PM , Rating: 2
A municipal broadband outfit would have control of the legal system?


By Dr of crap on 3/31/2011 12:52:18 PM , Rating: 2
Good one!

I think he was just ranting at the govt!


By Fracture on 3/31/2011 11:19:08 AM , Rating: 2
WOW cable just moved into some of the Chicagoland region offering a long-overdue alternative to Comcast.

Competition in telecommunications can only help. I'm getting expanded cable (with a few HD channels) and a 8 mbps down / 1 mbps up connection for $60/mo. Rate good through 2013.

Encourage your local gov't to deregulate as well - we're enjoying cheaper electric as well because of it.


Author is off the mark.........
By zendude on 3/31/2011 8:22:09 AM , Rating: 3
The goal of the bill as I read it is to ensure that Internet Services provided by the Local Government needs to be self-sufficient and not propped up by taxes.

I certainly do not want to be paying taxes to subsidize someone elses internet.

The bill helps ensure that the Municipal Systems can use the Big Telco's lines and visa versa. The REASON to add the language to the STATE Law when it is covered under FEDERAL Law/Policy is that the FEDERAL Law/Policy may change at any time and is therefore an attempt to try and keep the rules the same, even if the Whims of DC change.

The issue of taxes is obvious too.
Taxes are levied in Internet Service and sent to Federal, State, and sometimes Local Entities to fund the different programs or perhaps the general coffers. There is no logical reason the services provided by the local municipalities should be exempt from doing this.

I certainly do not want my City operating a Business at a loss that I need to fund via higher taxes.

This bill is right on the mark.




RE: Author is off the mark.........
By IGx89 on 3/31/11, Rating: 0
RE: Author is off the mark.........
By trooper11 on 3/31/2011 10:17:45 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, reading through the bill, it seems that they are trying to prevent any missuse of offering such a service. People get all up in arms about how wicked business is, well if you think government is immune to the same forces, youd be mistaken. So Im not suprised to see those that want to lay down a set of ground rules before it gets out of hand elsewhere.

I understand why some would be agaisnt any regulation of a service the people themselves voted to support, but if your concerned about the mean old businesses, then you should be equally concerned when the government is in business.

It certainly doesnt help when we hear inflammatory reports about who contributes to which congressman. Its just too easy to avoid reading the actual bill and trying to understand its meaning. Instead, its easier, and i guess more entertaining, to go after those who support the bill.


RE: Author is off the mark.........
By mcnabney on 3/31/2011 11:25:07 AM , Rating: 3
When you read the bill you weren't thinking about finance.

The bill eliminates most of the methods that municipalities can raise money. Businesses can borrow based upon a variety of assets, future values, hell - businesses can borrow against their AR. Municipalities cannot use their assets to secure loans and have to fall back on guarantees. This bill blocks that ability and undermines the financial underpinnings of generating local internet 'utilities'.


RE: Author is off the mark.........
By rdawise on 3/31/2011 10:21:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
When you read the bill you weren't thinking about finance. The bill eliminates most of the methods that municipalities can raise money. Businesses can borrow based upon a variety of assets, future values, hell - businesses can borrow against their AR. Municipalities cannot use their assets to secure loans and have to fall back on guarantees. This bill blocks that ability and undermines the financial underpinnings of generating local internet 'utilities'.


Holy crap thank you! Someone who though logically! This bill, cheaply called level playing field, basically makes it impossible to create competition since these telecos have a monopoly on many areas in NC. The exemptions in the bill stated that you have to be "undeserved" to try to compete but that's bull.


By superunknown98 on 3/31/2011 12:59:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The goal of the bill as I read it is to ensure that Internet Services provided by the Local Government needs to be self-sufficient and not propped up by taxes.


At first your statement makes sense, but if you really take a step back and look at what local government does, your statement loses creditability.

Think about it, what does government do for it's citizens? Creates governing rules and provides services. My town provides discounted daycare services to residents. I don't have any children but I still pay for this service. And last I heard the day care industry wasn't lobbying to abolish those municipal services.

These people had a need for a service and the municipality provided these services, just like any other service it would supply. Schools, libraries, senior centers....)

Maybe people should ask their city to not provide these services, or not vote for politicians who support it.

As it stands in my mind, the private businesses were stagnant because there was no reason to improve. Some competition came along, competition that they could bully or buy out, and they complained.



RE: Author is off the mark.........
By rdawise on 3/31/2011 10:13:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I certainly do not want to be paying taxes to subsidize someone elses internet.


Only the ones who use the service pay the taxes to use it. Look at Wilson, NC.


Business as usual
By rgsaunders on 3/30/2011 9:16:23 PM , Rating: 5
Just another expression of unbridled "capitalism" at its best, a healthy investment of cash in the right place can buy the politician and legislation of your choice, no need to deal with a troublesome electorate with illusions about fairness or whats right, or horrors, actually competing on the basis of merit/value.




RE: Business as usual
By integr8d on 3/31/2011 6:11:52 AM , Rating: 2
Has nothing to do with 'Capitalism'. Same thing goes on in China, Russia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Brazil, England, you name it.


Section 5
By siuol11 on 3/31/2011 1:53:05 AM , Rating: 5
I'm not sure how you missed it Mick, but section 5 is very clearly worded to allow the larger telecoms to use the municipally funded infrastructure to supplement their services for free. Basically, it gives the big telecoms the right to use something they didn't pay a cent to develop, and it will most certainly negatively impact the quality of service. I predict that they will then try to do the exact same thing they did in the early 2000's; buy up the new infrastructure at incredibly reduced prices, and then proceed to implement anti-competitive measures.




Groundhog Day?
By The Insolent One on 3/30/2011 9:52:01 PM , Rating: 2
This stuff is happening over and over again.

I'm all for keeping government out of private business, but when telecom oligopolies ramrod laws into effect by calling in favors, congress should look into breaking their ass up again.

This whole T-1000 thing is crazy. Break em up, and they reform again. Maybe they should be dropped into a slag pit?




RE: Groundhog Day?
By integr8d on 3/31/2011 7:14:20 AM , Rating: 2
You and I are in the same boat. No interference from the government... But at least, on the state or local level, I don't see any reason that a government can't 'participate' in a market. If the people vote for it and feel that their municipality can do a better job, I think they should give it a go, as long as they're all playing by the same rules. But if an internet utility can't hack it, they either take more private loans to stay afloat or cash out, same as anyone else. No tax money for subsidization.


NC going downhill
By fishman on 3/31/2011 9:11:29 AM , Rating: 2
We are close to retirement, and have considered retiring to NC from the DC area. Now you can make that had considered - just too many bad laws being passed there.




RE: NC going downhill
By InsidiousAngel on 3/31/2011 10:03:48 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, stay away. No sarcasm, but living here since moving up from FL when I was 8, this state has changed a lot. And not for the better I assure you.


Wrong side of this issue
By Ammohunt on 3/31/2011 2:29:27 PM , Rating: 2
Government owned internet no thanks! dumb idea from the onset let private companies build out wireless networks....e.g http://www.openrange.net




RE: Wrong side of this issue
By rdawise on 3/31/2011 10:17:19 PM , Rating: 2
Not government owned, community owned. The private companies chose not to service these areas so the community decided to serve themselves!


Section 9 is actually needed
By Fritzr on 4/1/2011 9:20:23 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Provision 9 offers a further restriction:

The city shall annually remit to the general fund of the city an amount equivalent to all taxes or fees a private communications service provider would be required to pay the city or county in which the city is located, including any applicable tax refunds received by the city-owned communications service provider because of its government status and a sum equal to the amount of property tax that would have been due if the city-owned communications service provider were a private communications service provider.

In other words, the city has to pay local taxes to itself. The point is not just to inconvenience the projects, though. Combined with the previous provision it means that the city has to yearly apply taxes to itself which cannot be returned to reinvest in the internet service. This puts the service at a bafflingly disadvantageous web of self-taxation and denial of funding.

A few points here
1) The municipal ISP should be an independent, profitable, utility operating without any subsidy not provided to ordinary companies in the same industry.
2) The taxes imposed on the private company are in the words of the article:
"the company has to yearly apply taxes to itself which cannot be returned to reinvest in the internet service. This puts the service at a bafflingly disadvantageous web of taxation and denial of funding."
3) Promotional rates are not ongoing service below cost.

Require the utility to show a quarterly profit that is then returned to the general fund and the limited time promo rates would be valid, though a court challenge would almost be guaranteed.

A private company will offer promo rates to gain subscribers who will later be charged rates that will recover the cost of the promotion. A utility that is competing in the free market should have this ability also, provided that these low cost offers/loss leaders are limited to short term promotions in line with what is generally accepted in the industry and the utility is required to return an annual profit to it's 'owner'.

A similar issue came up with our local city bus company.
They operate as a public utility with Federal, State and local subsidy.

Some years back they built a transit center downtown. The original plan called for an office tower with the bottom floors housing the transit center and the remainder leased to generate income for the transit system. Lawsuits were filed stating that as a public transit system the bus company was not allowed to generate revenue to support itself with the exception of fares charged passengers riding the bus and therefore the Transit Center was required to either operate at a loss or not be built at all.

Later when the economy crashed, the transit system had to cut service. There were loud protests about the downtown transit center and the "poor" planning that didn't allow it to be run as a revenue source that would have allowed the buses to operate without service cuts.

People have an amazing capacity when it comes to shooting themselves in the feet :P




Get rid of the source?
By Suganami on 3/31/2011 5:36:48 PM , Rating: 1
So who all would be for getting rid of lobbyists all together? Outlaw lobbying, or whatever...seems like those self-righteous assholes don't serve any purpose other than corrupt our worthless politicians even worse than they already are (if that's truly even possible). Just my 2 cents.




I cant beleive it.
By semiconshawn on 3/30/11, Rating: -1
RE: I cant beleive it.
By semiconshawn on 3/30/11, Rating: -1
"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov














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