Killing Net Neutrality Has Brought On a New Call for Public Broadband

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The Federal Communications Commission’s network neutrality move gives fresh air to the arguments from municipal broadband proponents that city-run systems are the best way to ensure an affordable and free internet. Christopher Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, has studied the systems that have popped up all over the country. He said that these systems have far greater incentive to maintain net neutrality and that local control has some benefits people may not immediately consider. “One of the things that we’ve seen with a hundred examples of municipal broadband is not only do people get the benefit of non-discriminatory access, they typically pay less, they have better access, and if something does go wrong, they get much better customer service,” he said. 

The political peril in pursuing public broadband, noted David Segal, head of Demand Progress, which advocates for an open internet, comes with the potential of giving unwarranted credibility to the arguments made by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, that states, cities, and the Federal Trade Commission are best poised to regulated the situation. That’s not at all the case, Segal argued, and public broadband is a good thing in itself, but shouldn’t be seen as a substitute for net neutrality.


Killing Net Neutrality Has Brought On a New Call for Public Broadband