An increasing number of local communities are investigating ways to improve connectivity through municipal networks. Some of these communities must find a way to overcome state laws that preclude them from investing in broadband infrastructure, or have established requirements that make doing so prohibitive. Recently, we’ve seen reports on state laws that inflate the number of states with these types of preemptive barriers in place. It’s important that folks researching options for their communities get accurate information, so we decided it was time to address the confusion and recent state changes.
This week, Christopher and our Communications Specialist Jess Del Fiacco critique a list of states with preemptive barriers created by BroadbandNow. While we consider BroadbandNow a great resource, their definition of what makes a barrier goes a little farther than what is generally accepted among municipal network policy advocates. Christopher and Jess explain our definition and discusses the more general criteria BroadbandNow has adopted.
Jess and Christopher also discuss why we decided to remove a couple of states from our list, reducing it from 21 to 19. They offer recent examples of state legislation that rolled back tight restrictions and the reasoning behind those changes. Finally, Christopher and Jess talk about ongoing efforts, places where there is still significant risk of increased restrictions, and possible outcomes for state or federal preemptions that may reduce state barriers.
For details on the specific state laws that limit local authority, be sure to check out the most recent version of “State Restrictions on Community Broadband Services or Other Public Communications Initiatives” [PDF] from Baller, Stokes & Lide.
Do you want us to get into more detail about state legislation? Let us know by sending us an email.
You can also hear Jim Baller talk with Christopher for episode 67 of the podcast on the history of municipal networks, a great conversation on several state battles.
We want your feedback and suggestions for the show-please e-mail us or leave a comment below.
This show is 32 minutes long and can be played on this page or via iTunes or the tool of your choice using this feed.
Thanks to Arne Huseby for the music. The song is Warm Duck Shuffle and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.