More than half of the US states have passed laws that ban or severely restrict local governments from investing in broadband: many of these laws were copypasted from "model legislation" circulated by corporate telcoms lobbyists (this is a disturbing, widespread practice in America's state houses); and many of the states that have passed these bills have large areas where every ISP is a Net Neutrality violator, and all across America, ISPs are underinvesting in network buildout (especially for rural subscribers) while raising prices and refusing to sell high-speed service to customers who don't also buy cable TV.
Municipal internet is the answer: despite the documented lies of Trump's FCC, cities that build their own networks save money and the people who live there are the only Americans who are happy with their broadband.
So municipal internet is a huge threat to ISP monopolists: not only do they stand to lose the $5 billion federal subsidies that they receive every year, they also have to compete with superior, lower-cost, higher quality offerings from municipalities.
Cities want to offer broadband to residents: that's why so many have sued the FCC to cut off the telco monopolists' subsidies, and it's why the monopolists have been such aggressive litigators and shameless lobbyists against local governments' right to provide internet access to their residents.
The figures on state laws blocking community broadband come from a report from Broadbandnow; it also documents how states voted to subsidize private-sector monopolists at the same time as they were banning cities from competing with them, resulting in worse offerings at higher prices.
You'd be hard pressed to find many consumers who believe that a Comcast-written law should supplant their local voting rights as it pertains to local infrastructure, even if they don't agree that their town or city should pursue the option. But ISP lobbyists and lawmakers have grown adept over the years at obscuring such efforts from public scrutiny.
"Unfortunately, despite how unpopular these restrictions are with certain community members, they remain very under-the-radar to the public at large," Tyler Cooper, consumer policy expert and editor at BroadbandNow, told Motherboard.
Cooper noted that the only way to thwart such efforts is for consumers to pay closer attention and get involved with politics at a "hyper local level."
"Community members can get engaged with the regulatory process in their home state, telling their representatives that they want municipal broadband to be available to as many residents as possible," Cooper said. "Showing up in groups to town hall meetings can really move the needle. Many of the anti-muni laws can be overcome if enough community support is present," he said.
Municipal Broadband Is Roadblocked Or Outlawed In 26 States [Broadbandnow]
Report: 26 States Now Ban or Restrict Community Broadband [Karl Bode/Motherboard]