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Banning Municipal Broadband

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In the information age, broadband is a critical service. As would be expected in the United States, there are many people who lack this service. In some cases, it is a matter of money, but in other cases it is due to a lack of providers. Ohio, where I went to college, has a serious access problem. About one million Ohioans simply do not have access to broadband and many areas that do have it face slow speeds and unreliable connections. Other states face similar challenges, and the problems tend to be worst in rural and low population areas. One of the main reasons for the lack of access is that for-profit providers have little interest in providing services in such areas. After all, this would require investing in infrastructure—something they are generally loath to do. To be fair to them, they are in the business of making money for their shareholders and executives, expanding into these areas would not serve this goal very well. Those who take a dim view of such providers (which is probably most people) might think that they also derive some pleasure in denying people service—that the cruelty is the point. The obvious solution (and one that has often been proposed) is for municipalities to step in and provide such services to the citizens. On the face of it, you would think that there would be little or no opposition to this. Those living in these underserved areas generally want broadband and the for-profit companies have no interest in selling their services there—hence they would not be losing any business. But if you think this, then you would be wrong. Ohio, as noted above, suffers from a lack of broadband access. The state has been considering expanding broadband access but, as one would expect, the Republican controlled legislature seems interested in preventing this—although some other Republicans are on board. There is currently a law being proposed that would band municipal broadband services and efforts are underway to defund broadband expansion plans.. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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