Coalition Letter in Support of Community Internet and Municipal Broadband
The signatories to this letter oppose any state or federal policies that would impose a blanket ban or significant impediment to any city, county or state entity from providing broadband services to their citizens. We call on all states considering such legislation to reject it as harmful to the interests of their citizens.
The President, the Congress, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have all identified the availability of competitive, affordable high-speed Internet broadband access for all Americans as a national priority. The President has set an aggressive goal of 2007 for universal access in the United States. Without the contributions of local governments, it is doubtful that we will achieve universal deployment at all, let alone in two years.
Broadband access has become increasingly essential to economic growth, healthcare, and education. What electric power and telephones were to the 20th Century, broadband access will be to the 21st. Towns that don't have affordable broadband lose jobs. Their children suffer a serious disadvantage in college or in the workforce, where fluency with computers and the Internet is increasingly assumed as a matter of course. Rural towns without broadband cannot take advantage of new breakthroughs in telemedicine or the economic opportunities created by telecommuting. Even in crowded urban areas, the availability of broadband can vary from one neighborhood to another, stranding one neighborhood on the wrong side of the "digital divide" while two, three or even four broadband providers serve their neighbors.
Read the full letter (PDF)