San Antonio considers municipal broadband network: A non-profit is working on a plan to offer low-cost Internet access to poorer residents of San Antonio and wants to work with the city to offer free wireless hotspots. The Texas house bill that prohibits municipal networks would disallow this kind of cooperation. (It might even doom some of Austin Wireless's projects that involve city help, founder Rich MacKinnon mentioned during South by Southwest interactive a few weeks ago.)
The reporter quoted the New Millennium Research Council's concern about muni networks, but tried to get the executive director, Alan Hepner, to identify funding for the report and the group, which he refused to. This is a step in the right direction. In the past, they just denied a connection--well, at least their partner on the report The Heartland Institute did. C'mon, Alan, you're listed as an assistant vice president at Issue Dynamics; the NMRC site says it's a project of IDI; the IDI site describes its relationship with NMRC as the council providing clients briefs, analysis, and research; and SBC is a listed IDI client (as well as Verizon, Qwest,, BellSouth, and Comcast, and, bizarrely, several no-longer-in-existence firms Pacific Bell, Ameritech, and GTE). Your cover is blown. Let's drop the pretense. [link via Muniwireless.com]
West Virginia's pro-muni, pro-competitive bill morphs into deadly form: The quintessential quote from an elected legislator: '"We were moving toward a compromise with the industry," said Helmick, D-Pocahontas. "But they don’t want the bill, and they’re going to be against it."' I've forgotten, Senator from Verizon--who elected you?
The revised bill guts municipalities' self-determination and eliminates their ability to sell bonds to fund efforts. [link via Muniwireless.com]