Dell, Intel, Texas Instruments, and others want more broadband to sell more gear to consumers: They've increasingly gotten involved in the ongoing debate over whether incumbent monopolies and duopolies deserve right of first refusal for broadband deployment in their service areas over municipalities because of incumbents' investments, municipalities' tax-free and bond-raising abilities, and the role of government in competing with private enterprise.
The Wall Street Journal walks through the issue, starting with a small town in Texas that's building broadband because SBC can't or won't. The Texas legislature was considering a telecom "reform" bill--a bill which removed many public service and oversight controls on telcos--that would also have banned municipalities from participating in broadband. The original bill was so broad it would have banned virtually all private-public partnerships that the FCC and the Bush Administration have stressed for extending broadband into the furthest reaches of the country.
The backlash is now coming since Texas's bill hit defeat for a variety of reasons, partly including Dell's founder picking up the phone and calling legislators. You see, computer makers would enjoy selling more equipment and one way to do that is broadband. (Homes with broadband connections tend to buy newer equipment and more computers, among other reasons.)
Pete Sessions (R-Texas) has introduced a bill at the national level to pre-empt local legislation (there's that anti-federalism again) governing municipal operation of broadband. Sessions is the representative from SBC: a former employee with huge stock and stock options held directly (not in trust) with a spouse who currently works there. His chief of staff told the Wall Street Journal that "the congressman's ties to SBC do not present a conflict of interest." Except in that he has millions of dollars at stake over SBC's continued performance in the market.