Wednesday, May 3, 2017

An ALEC bill blocking municipal broadband appears and dies in Maine

In today's Portland Press Herald, I had the story of how a bill developed by the American Legislative Exchange Council -- or ALEC -- aiming to hamstring towns and cities' efforts to build their own high speed internet networks appeared in the Maine legislature. Introduced by ALEC's state co-chair, critics denounced the bill as an effort by the major national internet providers like Comcast and Charter/Time Warner to block competition, even in markets they'd chosen not to serve adequately.

In tomorrow's Press Herald there's the news that the legislative committee considering the bill has voted 12-0 against it, with even the bill's author voting not to pass it. This, for all practical purposes, kills the measure.

I wrote extensively about ALEC in 2012, when the organization played a critical role in trying to ghostwrite Maine's digital education policies on behalf of national providers K12 Inc and Connections Academy.

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