Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Future They Stole From Us

by Kyle Michaelis
The future is now - except in Nebraska, where the state legislature has put the interests of large corporations who make large campaign contributions and pay large sums to lobbbyists before the long-term technological, economic, and educational needs of our state.

Iowa, on the other hand, has not been so fooled, as its citizens get the chance our representatives robbed us of to embrace municipal broadband as an equalizing and enlightening force in the 21st Century.

The Omaha World-Herald reports:
Voters in 31 cities and towns across Iowa will consider ballot proposals next month that would allow local governments to provide broadband Internet access.

The measures would authorize the creation of municipal communications utilities, which could develop local networks capable of delivering high-speed Internet service.

"Cities have always owned the infrastructure for delivering essential services," said Rick Young, who is heading the effort in Waterloo.

Supporters say that Iowa communities aren't getting broadband service from traditional providers and that they should move forward on their own.

Behind the effort is Opportunity Iowa, an advisory group formed by Cedar Rapids telecommunications entrepreneur Clark McLeod. Other members of the group are former Govs. Terry Branstad and Robert Ray; Bonnie Campbell, a former Iowa attorney general; retiring University of Northern Iowa President Robert Koob and Des Moines developer Bill Knapp.

Cities need broadband service to remain competitive, McLeod said. "A fiber utility is a logical, efficient and critical infrastructure for any community."

The point is not whether the people ultimately decide to embrace public is that in Iowa - unlike in Nebraska - the people actually had a choice. The Corporations didn't decide for them. Their legislature didn't betray them.

If only we could say the same.


Blogger GA Hill said...

So, you're saying that the citizens of Nebraska would be BETTER OFF by having a state-run internet service? Are you kidding me?

This is the one thing I will never understand involving a liberal point-of-view--having state/federal government programs work better, or are a better choice, than private businesses. This has been proven incorrect time and time again. Or are you going to tell me that FEMA is a glowing success?

Blogger Kyle Michaelis said...

Mr. Hill-

Is Nebraska's extremely affordable system of public power really such a disaster? Does government really do such a bad job of getting you clean and safe drinking water? In both health care and information technology, large corporations are bleeding consumers dry - in one instance, robbing people for what should be a basic human right while in the other using public airwaves and ground without being asked to pay a cent for such access.

I am not asking for one super-bureaucracy. I'm asking for choice....and I'm asking that municipalities be allowed to serve their citizens and grow their economies as THEY see fit. In this instance, it is Big Business using Big Government to hurt the little guy and protect its respective monopolies. There's nothing conservative about that.

For a somewhat balanced, though cynical perspective on this still-emerging issue, read this brand-new article from Slate.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Hill also might want to read this article:
from Money
, hardly a liberal big-government publication, that notes (1) the unusually high cost that Americans pay for broadband as compared to the rest of the wired world and (2) America's progressive slide DOWN the list of broadband availability to its citizens. Appears that private business is failing to produce widespread access at a reasonable cost. Facts, Mr. Hill, can be disturbing things. Enjoy.


Post a Comment

<< Home