The state of Pennsylvania has adopted legislation that severely restricts the ability of cities and towns to offer communications services including WiFi, reports The Wallstreet Journal (paid subscription required). The law is the result of a heavy lobby by Verizon Communications.
Giving a new meaning to the words 'free market', the law gives commercial telephone companies the right of veto over the ability for local government to deploy their own communication networks.
The law effectively gives Verizon the right to determine who shall have access to the outside world. It will halt existing projects that aim to bring internet access to low income neighbourhoods – it has already impacted two such projects.
You have to appreciate the state's efforts to protect taxpayer's money from being wasted on money losing projects like informing the poor.
Update 11:40 AM: This is certainly part of a larger trend. Cnet just put up this story providing more detail. They mention one case where local telecommunications giants spared no effort to derail a project that aimed to build a high speed fibre optic network in Illinois.
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