Carol Ellison: “Opinion: Pennsylvania has given Big Broadband too much control over municipal wireless installations. Other states should not repeat the error.”
The holidays, it seems, can’t pass without a Scrooge story.
This year’s comes from the state of Pennsylvania where early this month Gov. Edward Rendell [Democrat] inked legislation that effectively left the future development of municipal wireless broadband services in that state in the hands of Big Broadband.
The bill lets incumbent carriers (in Pennsylvania, that would be Verizon) determine whether Pennsylvania cities can create? and charge for? municipal wireless access services. The new law came hot on the heels of Philadelphia’s announcement that it planned to do just that. Now, it’s up to Verizon to exercise thumbs-up or thumbs-down on Philadelphia’s wireless ambitions. The company claims it won’t scotch the city’s plan. But what happens when Pittsburgh, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton or Harrisburg decide to unwire?