In a rare senatorial act, full-time Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio joined with a handful of fellow legislators on Friday in an attempt to block local municipalities from undercutting big telecom companies by providing cheap, fast internet service
Rubio, who is raising campaign cash from the telecom industry for his presidential campaign, fired off a letter to the Federal Communications Commission asking the agency to allow states to block municipal broadband services.
Because conservatives really love local governance, ya know.
So a city, say Chatanooga, decides that it wants to offer its citizens low-cost broadband access. And it does and everyone's happy.
For less than $70 a month, [Chattanooga] consumers enjoy an ultrahigh-speed fiber-optic connection that transfers data at one gigabit per second. That is 50 times the average speed for homes in the rest of the country, and just as rapid as service in Hong Kong, which has the fastest Internet in the world. (source)
Rubio, and his fellow free-marketeers in the Senate's teabagging society, would like the state government of Tennessee to be able to step in and outlaw the city doing something good for its citizens.
Rubio, who notoriously has pretty much stopped showing up to work because he "hates it" there, decided that this was actually worth taking time away from his quixotic campaign for president and actually doing something.
For Rubio, it's not enough that he not do anything that might benefit people, he wants to prevent anyone else from doing anything that might be beneficial.
And, in true neo-Confederate fashion, he phrased his twisted logic in the language of "states' rights."
Rubio joined Sens. Deb Fischer, Ron Johnson, John Cornyn, Pat Roberts, John Barrasso, Michael Enzi, and Tim Scott in protesting the Commission’s interference in “overriding [Tennessee and North Carolina’s] sovereign authority to regulate their own municipalities.”
Hmm, suddenly you're all in favor of government regulations? How odd. I wonder why that might be?
Few candidates have closer ties to corporate telecom interests than Marco Rubio. AT&T lobbyist Scott Weaver, who works as the public policy co-chair of high-powered DC law firm Wiley Rein, is a close Rubio associate. Weaver, also assisting in litigation against the FCC to curb municipal broadband, is one of three lobbyist money-bundlers working on behalf of the Rubio campaign. He has raised at least $33,000 so far for the Florida senator.
Rubio has lived off AT&T’s generosity since his days in the Florida legislature, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, including $22,000 in personal expenses, on a state Republican Party American Express card that was paid each month with funds donated by AT&T and other special interest
Oh, and here's the best part:
"The [Federal Communications Commission] is promoting government-owned networks at the possible expense of private sector broadband providers," the letter reads. "The FCC should not be in the business of choosing winners and losers in the competitive broadband marketplace."
Um, okay, first of all, in most places, the broadband market is not very competitive. How many choices do you have where you live for broadband service? Here, we have Comcast, AT&T, and I'm not sure if Clear is still around, but it's not like shopping for shoes or something where there are dozens of brands to choose from. There are very limited options. And a municipal broadband provider makes the market MORE competetive. The more competing providers there are, the more competeitive the market - it's the definition of the word! And if the for-profit companies can't compete with the municipal provider, hey tough luck. That's how the market is supposed to work, right? That's what capitalists have been preaching since forever, survival of the fittest, right? Whoever provides the best product at the best price thrives while competing companies either adapt and improve or fall by the wayside.
Plus, people like this. If people don't like municipal broadband, they won't sign up for it and it will go under. Problem solved. But since people do want this, and the city is willing and able to provide it, how do you justify the big boot of government crushing the city's efforts under its heel? (that's capitalist talk, right? I'm sorry, I'm not really fluent.)
So, seriously Marco. Just go back to your flailing, moribund presidential campaign. Don't try to govern. We're better off with you doing nothing.