Where not Why Incumbents Failed in Texas?

As you may or may not know, Texas legislature failed to pass a bill that would have banned municipal networks. Bill Gurley, highlights that incumbents had 160 lobbyists in Texas, one per district really, trying to get municipal networks banned. He lauds the organization of the pro-muni broadband community, which has been quick to declare victory.

The reason the pro-broadband movement was successful is because they organized, they gathered the real data on the success of municipal wireless deployments, and they were able to inform the citizens about this effort by the incumbents and their key legislators to use regulation to restrict competition.

Bill might be slightly off the mark in his post, and the pro-broadband folks might be quick to take credit for something that was more accidental. Glenn Fleishman rightly points out

The bill failed not because of the municipal part, but because, along with another bill, the senate and house couldn’t agree on how to reconcile them. Included in the bills was a proposal to eliminate local cable franchise control, which the telcos wanted to allow them easier entry into the television market without having to negotiate local deals with each town, and deregulation elements that would free incumbents from a number of responsibilities while releasing them from tariffs.

That’s the bit which is causing a lot of heartache in the executive suites of the incumbents, who have now started campaigning for a federal broadband policy, knowing very well that perhaps they might find receptive ears in Washington. Believe me, we have not heard the last of banning municipal networks, and this issue will come up again and again and again!

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