Monday, August 01, 2005

Republican Protectionism

Driving into work this morning, I heard an NPR story on municipal wireless efforts by cities like Philadelphia to bridge the digital divide for its citizens. They want to offer broadband wireless access to everyone for $20/month, instead of the going rate of $80/month, by building their own wireless infrastructure instead of relying on the monopolistic position of existing providers.

One of the points made in the article is that, as you might imagine, the Cable/DSL companies are fighting back, but not by dropping prices. Instead, they are dumping money into buying legislators, and it sounds like they are succeeding. Now, there is a Texas Republican sponsoring a bill to make it illegal for municipalities to offer wireless services to its citizenry. The Republican has ties to SBC, natch.

Is this the sort of government we have elected? One which basically takes bribes to make legislation that benefits corporations instead of citizens? What possible reason, beyond simple monopolistic protectionism, is there to make such a law?

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