Bill to \"Protect Innovation\" aims to kill muni WiFi


Well, our elected officials are at it again. Presumedly as a part of their efforts to free commerce, Representative Pete Sessions (R-Dallas, TX) has decided it would be in all of our best interests if the Federal Government banned the creation of WiFi networks by municipalities to let the free market decide if we really need it.

The bill (HR 2726) states that within 60 days, "neither any State or local government, nor any entity affiliated with such a government, shall provide any telecommunications, telecommunications service, information service, or cable service in any geographic area within the jurisdiction of such government in which a corporation or other private entity that is not affiliated with any State or local government is offering a substantially similar service".

There is a grandfather provision for providing services that were in service at the time the amendment was passed, although it appears that if your city isn't providing it before this is passed and it then starts providing it (because nobody else is, since it would be illegal otherwise), they'll have to take it down once a commercial or private entity is providing it.

Of course "substantially similar service" is pretty broad and that could mean anything from "also providing WiFi" to providing 100% coverage at a reasonable price.

Also, in small print, it cancels (f) of Sec 541 of 47 USC, which states that that the code (section 541) doesn't prohibit local governments from operating a cable company. This would repeal that opportunity.

Now, for the record, I'm a rabid capitalist, but capitalism only works in non- monopoly situations. If there's a monopoly, there isn't competition and it must be regulated. NOTE: This included Patents.... grumble... especially software patents.