Municipal Internet Infrastructure

Pretty interesting from Susan Crawford in the NY Times.  Just as municipalities pay for, install and often operate city lighting, water, sewage, roadways, so they could with Internet wiring.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — LAST week’s proposal by the Federal Communications Commission to allow Internet service providers to charge different rates to different online content companies — effectively ending the government’s commitment to net neutrality — set off a flurry of protest.

The uproar is appropriate: In bowing before an onslaught of corporate lobbying, the commission has chosen short-term political expediency over the long-term interest of the country.

But if this is the end of net neutrality as we know it, it is not the end of the line for fair and equitable Internet access. Indeed, the commission’s decision frees Americans to focus on a real long-term solution: supporting open municipal-level fiber networks.

for example:

Since 1998, my hometown, Santa Monica, Calif., has been saving money by shifting from paying expensive leases on private communications lines to using its own fiber network, called City Net.

The city planned carefully and built out City Net slowly, taking advantage of moments when streets were being opened for other infrastructure projects. Businesses in Santa Monica now pay City Net a third of what a private operator would charge, and the city government has made millions leasing out its fiber resources at reasonable rates to other providers.

Let’s Go!

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