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Should Towns Offer Cheap High-Speed Internet Access?

That indeed is an important question many cities, both large and small, are asking these days, and with good reason. The lack of competition among cable and telecom providers means less innovation and little reason to do anything that would upset their rate structures and revenue streams.

Seems to me those companies only get competitive when they want to squash the very thought of a city offering residents their own wireless WiFi Internet connection... Despite some large cities -- Philadelphia and Los Angeles -- forging ahead with ambitious plans to set up fast town-wide Net access on their own, other smaller towns with smaller tax bases aren't nearly as lucky.

Case in point: Three towns west of Chicago known as the Tri-Cities area that wanted to set up their own municipality-owned Internet service as a means to generate revenues and ease property taxes (a plan very similar to one that works well in Thomasville, Ga).

Comcast and SBC eventually created Net plans for the Tri-Cities, but only after spending some $300,000 to defeat a public referendum on the issue. Their main weapon was one I write about often here: The deliberate art of disinformation.

A favorite target was government waste. Particularly nasty was a phone campaign asking residents if they wanted taxpayer dollars spent to bring pornography into their homes.

Fact is folks, think about how much faster we could tear down the existing conventional health care paradigm, that promises cures and delivers nothing but misery, and replace it with one that promotes natural safer treatments, if more people had inexpensive access to the Net and my Web site?

Our task would be much easier than ever before...

CNET News May 16, 2005

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