Timothy Karr of MediaChannel asks "Why allow for local competition and innovation in Philadelphia when you can shut it down via well-funded connections in the capitol?"
Banish the notion that America's communications industry nurtures technological innovation to help make media more accessible to average Americans.
The reality today is that we live in an era where large corporations work hand-in-hand with lobbyists and compliant legislators to stifle any technology that returns control of our media system to the public.
The latest evidence lies hidden within a Bill en route to the desk of Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell. House Bill 30 — an industry-drafted and inspired sprawl of corporate concessions — has tucked within its more than 70 pages an amendment that effectively kills efforts in Philadelphia to provide citywide wireless access at little or no charge.
The bill cleared both Pennsylvania's House and Senate on Friday. A signature from Governor Rendell would scuttle "Philadelphia Wireless" — an ambitious plan to build a Wi-Fi network to serve the city's working-class communities — before the project could begin.
The problem, according to the Bill's principal sponsor, Verizon Communications, Inc., is that community-supported wireless poses a "significant threat" to the multi-billion dollar company's near monopoly hold on wireless access across the city. Why allow for local competition and innovation in Philadelphia when you can shut it down via well-funded connections in the capitol?
Between Big Media and Brotherly Love
A proposed Pennsylvania law now on its way to the governor's desk could pose a hurdle for the city of Philadelphia's ambitious plan to provide broadband service throughout the city via Wi-Fi.
By Stephen Lawson, IDG News Service
Law May Snag Philadelphia Wi-Fi Rollout
Large phone and cable companies fight city wireless Internet access initiatives by pushing states to pass legislation that could make it illegal for municipalities to provide this service.
By Jesse Drucker, Wall Street Journal
Telecom Giants Oppose Cities on Web Access