Interesting article out of the Northeastern Penn. newspaper about Wilkes-Barre's municipal Wi-Fi plan: There was a rush to get the network underway by Dec. 31 in this city in order to beat a deadline in the now-infamous law that almost scotched Philadelphia's broadband plan. But this article examines the details of what's known as Act 183. The law appears to state that any municipal broadband network that isn't in operation by the end of this year can only be built if the incumbent carrier is notified of a city or town's plan to build such a network. The carrier has two months to respond and, if they respond that they will build their own network, have 14 months to build it, the article says. (This part is tricky as the law could allow extensions of this time indefinitely.)
The article points out that the definition of municipal broadband isn't very tight, and that it's unclear whether hiring a private contractor, having a non-profit that actually signs a contract (as in Philly), or not using public tax dollars would all exempt a city from these terms.
Verizon's attempt to clamp down on municipal broadband has certainly failed on three counts. First, the publicity surrounding the submarine law created a national outcry and a loud debate with many sides involved. It spurred development of municipal broadband in cities that never considered it before. Second, Verizon was forced to sign a waiver for Philadelphia to get the law passed. Third, the actual law appears to be vague enough that Verizon would have to sue municipalities that choose to believe that it doesn't cover many kinds of networks being built. That lawsuit would almost certainly backfire as well.