The municipal broadband scene is seeing a turning of the tides: Oh, yes, Master Shallow, I have heard the chimes at midnight, and it seems that an old way of doing business may be passing away, as incumbents refocus their efforts and state bills are poised to reverse to disable incumbent-benefiting municipal and utility restrictions. Reports in from all over.
Washington State considers bill to allow public utility districts to offer telecom services: The bill would cut the line, "Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to authorize public utility districts to provide telecommunications services to end users" among other enabling changes.
Home of a long-running feud over fiber, Lafayette will start work: The Louisiana town has wanted to roll out its own city-owned fiber-optic network for years and years, and was fought on several fronts by incumbent operators and others. The Lafayette Utilities System received a 7-0 state Supreme Court ruling in its favor to allow it to sell bonds to finance the project. Cox says it already has a state-of-the-art fiber installation and will invest another $500m in the region. In most cases, incumbents rarely upgrade facilities until the threat of municipal competition is invoked. BellSouth also fought the effort. Neither offers fiber-to-the-home (FTTH), which is what Lafayette will build. The utility is rapidly getting its house in order to sell bonds and start building. Some service could start in 18 months.
Pennsylvania bill would re-enable municipal broadband: Rep. Mike Sturla (Dem.) would overturn the contentiously approved law that nearly scuttled Philadelphia's planned wireless network. The law requires municipalities that hadn't started work by a certain point to request a waive from the incumbent telecom provider. The law has been construed to allow public-private partnerships, however, in which cities aren't the owners of the networks being built. However, Rep. Sturla says that it's unfair that some municipal wireless networks can be built due to timing, while other cities have their hands tied.