Kansas lawmakers were pushing the “Municipal Communications Network and Private Telecommunications Investment Safeguards Act” (pdf), which claims to “encourage the development and widespread use of technological advances in providing video, telecommunications and broadband services at competitive rates.”
But it’s really a protectionist bill drafted by the phone and cable industry to hamstring towns, cities, and in some cases smaller competitors from providing exactly that, says Broadband Reports.
Google, which operates Google Fiber in Kansas, City Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri, joined a group of other companies in blasting the new measure in a letter to lawmakers.
Google Fiber’s expansion could be hampered by the muddy language in the bill, potentially impacting Google’s placement of fiber cabinets on public land.
“SB 304 will hurt the private sector in several ways: by curtailing public-private partnerships; by stifling the ability of private companies to sell equipment and services to public broadband providers; and by impairing economic and educational opportunities that contribute to a skilled workforce from which businesses across the state will benefit,” the letter states.