Municipal networks are cheaper and faster than the ones that cable and telephone duopolists build after being given exclusive franchises to serve cities, which is why the FCC had to issue an order banning cities to stop building them -- in the absence of such an order, it seems likely that most of America would end up using municipal internet connections (unlike today, when 100,000,000 Americans are served by a single ISP).
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Tim Wu, the Columbia law professor who coined the term "Net Neutrality," is running for Lieutenant Governor of New York State on a leftist, reform platform that starts with blocking the Comcast/Time-Warner merger. Wu wrote The Master Switch, a brilliant 2010 novel on the history of networks and competition in America, and his paper Copyright's Communications Policy is a classic.
I've known Tim for more than 30 years; we went to the same small alternative elementary school in Toronto together. I rate him as one of the best thinkers and activists on these issues around and wish him the best of luck. If I were a New York voter, he'd have my vote.
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Yesterday, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated the FCC's Open Internet Rules. These were the closest thing to a set of Net Neutrality rules America had: rules that were supposed to ensure that ISPs fetched you the data you asked for without prejudice, rather than giving preference to the companies that had bribed them for faster access to you.
But these rules sucked
As David Isenberg points out, the Open Internet Rules were drafted to be as inoffensive to great and powerful companies as possible. They were toothless, nearly pointless rules that turned their backs on "500 years of common law and a deep corpus of case law." Read the rest
Baratunde Thurston is generally known as a humorist, not a net.activist, but here he gives a concise and remarkably non-technical explanation of what net neutrality is and what it means for the average person.
A lot of people were frustrated in 2011 when the North Carolina General Assembly passed a bill written by Time Warner Cable to revoke local authority to build community-owned networks. A new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Common Cause explains how Time Warner Cable, AT&T, and CenturyLink bought their bill.
In the two years since, the big companies have refused to invest in better networks and AT&T just announced layoffs for some call center workers. Meanwhile, the state is tied with Mississippi for last place in the US in the number of households subscribing to at least a "basic broadband connection" according to the FCC. Perhaps these decisions should be made locally and not by corporate lobbyists?
The Empire Lobbies Back: Killing Broadband Competition in NC
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The happy mutants at MonkeyBrains, the San Francisco hacker-friendly ISP, have launched a $350,000,000 IndieGoGo campaign to buy their own satellite ("North Korea just launched a satellite; we want to as well").