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In this 3-minute video, titled “Stay away from Muni Broadband,” Scott Cleland lays out multiple reasons why we should be wary about Municipal Broadband.
First of all, it is preposterous to think of the government as a competitor. The government does not operate under the same rules as its private sector counterparts. In fact, the government makes the rules. The government sets taxes, they regulate industry, they have the ability to set barriers to entry. By using these powers, the government has a large advantage over the competition. As Cleland states, “you can’t fight city hall.”
Competing with the government can easily become a unfair fight. If the government begins to lose, they can use their powers to gain an edge. By reconstructing the regulations or fees, the government has the ability to injure its competition; this is an advantage the private-sector competition does not have. Also, these advantages of the government come at the expense of the taxpayer.
At best, municipal broadband is a waste of taxpayer money. As Cleland states, “In the past, these municipal broadband things have been boondoggles and have cost local and state coffers millions upon millions upon tens-of-millions of bonds that then were essentially bankrupt.” It is also a gamble. The government intends to spend money attempting to compete with the private sector even though they have no experience in this field.
The last argument Cleland gives against municipal broadband is the possibility of government snooping. With the government running the internet, this opens up the opportunity for them to be able to check your email or monitor your internet searches.
This short video by Cleland does a great job of explaining some of the arguments against municipal broadband. The government should stick to tasks we deem necessary while leaving the internet in the hands of the private sector.