For Immediate Release
The Pirate Party of Georgia categorically opposes HB282 and its attempts to cripple competition for the ingrained ISP’s and their currently woeful service.
The bill is an attempt to restrict the ability of local residents and their communities to provide services they feel they need because of poor commercial offerings.
In a nutshell, the bill says that After July 1st, anyone in a census block area where the National Broadband Map shows at least one provider offering a connection with at least 1.5Mbit in one direction, cannot implement any sort of municipal wifi or home broadband scheme.
It’s the worst sort of crony protectionism that is not in the interests of the people of Georgia. Instead it only seeks to line the pockets of the major incumbent ISPs.
The reliance on the FCC broadband map is also something that is worrying.
The National Broadband Map relies on information submitted by companies, and does a poor job of checking.
“The Broadband map is a fictional account of what a company would like the FCC to think was available,”says Andrew Norton, Pirate Party of Georgia spokesman. “For instance, in Monticello, the Broadband map shows availability of 100Mbit to 1Gigabit. However, if you try and sign up for service with Comcast’s website, it’ll tell you they do not serve that area. Likewise Verizon and AT&T only have 3G coverage at best, not the 4G they claim. To base legislation and restrict availability and competition based on unverified claims by competitors is absurd and foolish. In practice it rules out any Public Provider project anywhere a cellular carrier claims a 3G signal.”
The bill further seeks to drive Georgia to the bottom in terms of technological availability. We already pay significantly more than many other nations for a substantially worse service. A free market system only works when a free market is allowed to exist.
The Pirate Party believes that internet connectivity is an essential part of modern life, as was recently recognised in Germany. Private profits should NOT be given priority over infrastructure, especially if it’s the will of the populace that feels hard-done by those companies.
As such we strongly urge rejection of this bill, and that measures instead be introduced to encourage the upgrading and competitiveness of the broadband market in Georgia, enabling it to compete globally with its peers, rather than languishing behind many third world countries.
The Pirate Party of Georgia