NEO in the News: Techdirt Takes AT&T to Task

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NEO in the News: Techdirt Takes AT&T to Task

Shortly after the release of the NEO & SNG’s holistic report on broadband, the industry blog Techdirt issued a blog extremely critical of AT&T’s pushback on the report. The blog can be found here:

Techdirt logoTennessee Study Shows State Remains A Broadband Backwater Thanks To AT&T Lobbyists, Clueless Politicians, And Protectionist State Law

We’d encourage you to read the whole article, but excerpts include:

As that lawsuit is being hammered out in the courts, Tennessee state leaders have been forced to respond to an increasingly annoyed citizenry; one that’s slowly woken up to AT&T’s role in keeping Tennessee a broadband backwater. Part of this effort by Tennessee leaders has been to fund a new study taking a closer look at the state of broadband in Tennessee. And while some thought the study would be used to obfuscate state broadband problems, the full survey has been released and it doesn’t pull any punches (pdf).

…the study doesn’t shy away from pointing out that the state’s decision to try and blockade public/private partnerships — when they’re the primary driver of broadband improvement everywhere else in the country — isn’t very smart:

“In States where there are no restrictions, administrative burdens or regulatory limitations for any entity to build telecommunications infrastructure and offer services, there is more competition and more broadband investment, especially in rural parts of the state. Municipalities and electric cooperatives who have a vested interest in the vitality of their local communities are investing in broadband infrastructure because it is a key driver to economic development.”

In reality, AT&T and other incumbent broadband providers simply adore bloated, dysfunctional government — just as long as it’s doing what AT&T wants. It’s when government starts to heed the will of the people that you’ll usually find AT&T crying like a petulant child.

And these local governments aren’t getting into the broadband business because it’s fun or because they’re villains trying to ruin your ideological good time — they’re doing it because they’ve been saddled with awful broadband thanks to regulatory capture perpetuated by the same folks complaining about dysfunctional government.

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