Hacker News new | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

>The government should build electricity and broadband to places that don't have it

Except every time a government tries to do just that, the ISPs sue to stop it. Even if they have no plans to provide the service, themselves. They don't want the precedent.

On what grounds do they sue? Clearly local governments have the ability to build/own things like buses, metros, recycling centers, etc.

Do you have any citations?

It's not that they're suing directly, but getting laws passed which block municipal internet. You don't have to sue if you can write the laws. This has happened in 20+ states already.

There are lots of citations:


"An appeals court on Wednesday sided with the telecom industry, and with North Carolina and Tennessee, in a major decision that upheld the ability of states to pass laws that restrict municipalities from offering broadband internet services."

And in Colorado:


And here's an argument for why they're doing it. It's all about never allowing taxes to be collected to be spent on something that benefits, well, anyone. Basically since government is inherently bad and can't do anything right, it will cost too much money and they won't work and only private companies have the "expertise" to run "an internet":


Note that the majority of states have no such laws, including the largest. Additionally, only a fraction of the state laws impose more the perfunctory barriers to municipal broadband: https://www.google.com/amp/s/motherboard.vice.com/amp/en_us/.... For example, Washington is on that list of 20. But the only requirement there is that municipalities have to be “code cities” (basically, be big enough to use its own municipal laws and codes). Pennsylvania is also included, and there a city only needs to prepare a proposal to its incumbent, which the incumbent has 60 days to accept or reject (in which case the city can go build its own). The Utah law implements exactly the system folks on HN espouse, where the government builds the system but a private company must be the one to sell service directly to consumers.

Putting up these laws as a reason for the limited deployment of municipal broadband is misleading. Most stages have no legal barriers, and for most of the states that do, the barriers aren’t really significant. They don’t explain why New York, LA, San Francisco, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston, Seattle, etc., don’t build their own municipal systems.

Aren't those places already some of the best-served in the country? I don't live there, but it was my impression that the biggest cities already had good options, and it was smaller cities and towns that had more trouble with private ISPs. That seemed to be what the earlier commenter was suggesting too.

Applications are open for YC Summer 2019

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact