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stumolanger8 karma

I recently listened to your interview with Ezra Klein on the history of antitrust regulation how do we promote a competitive environment that doesn't just use consumer price as its primary metric?

stumolanger7 karma

Exactly, we also see that the narrative that is prevailing in national circles is that the competition we have is fine, but that's not true. The major ISPs try to tell us they exist in a "competitive market". Federal decision makers tout the benefits of competition, but approve consolidation efforts by a few powerful companies that are already behemoths.


stumolanger5 karma

Cybersecurity is a good concern to have and a more decentralized model of Internet access accomplishes that goal right off the bat by decreasing the amount of data available in one place.

A number of states reacted harshly to Congress's change in allowing ISPs to sell customer data by passing their own privacy laws, those states are also the states that allow municipalities to create community networks. While that isn't exactly an answer to your question it is significant - https://muninetworks.org/tags/privacy.

stumolanger5 karma

This is a great question and a situation that is a bit difficult to change quickly.

I'd say, number one, cooperatives are supposed to be responsive to their member-owners and if the local government it serves and the residents in their service territory are demanding higher speed, lower cost Internet access that is something to bring into board elections on the local level. (https://ilsr.org/just-how-democratic-are-rural-electric-cooperatives/)

There are also a number of different things that can be done by local leaders to nudge investment in lower cost networks that we detail here: https://muninetworks.org/sites/www.muninetworks.org/files/2017-01-why-local-solutions1.pdf. This goes from a city investing in full retail service (such as Chattanooga, Tenn. all the way to partnering with outside companies such as Westminster, Md). A big problem are these intermediary problems with competition in the market dominated by a few large providers with rural areas not benefitting from their investment because it isn't "worth" it to them to invest in low density areas.

stumolanger3 karma

These networks are happening all over the country (we've mapped them here - https://muninetworks.org/communitymap). There are, however, a number of states that big telecom has influenced in order to pass laws restricting local investment.

Sandy, Oregon has implemented a great network that serves their community (https://muninetworks.org/reports/sandynet-goes-gig-model-anytown-usa ).

Chattanooga, Tennessee has grown their network over time from an electric utility that has consistently increased their speed and kept prices low (https://muninetworks.org/reports/how-chattanooga-bristol-and-lafayette-built-best-broadband-america).

As to your second question, organizing your citizens and your local government and educating them on the benefits is the right way to go.