Consumers tend to look favorably on municipal broadband, as it usually comes with the perk of faster speeds and lower pricing than the big-ISP alternative. However, as of earlier this year, 20 states have limitations on such municipal networks — largely in part due to lobbying — and if AT&T has its way, that number will continue to grow.
The FCC has recently been open to public comments on two petitions from North Carolina and Tennessee for preemption of state laws in order to expand some municipal networks. Recently, AT&T submitted its own comment on the matter, and in it the service provider proclaimed that such networks are inferior to private options.
Referring to them as GONs (government-owned networks), AT&T says such networks “should not be utilized where the private sector already is providing broadband or can be expected to do so in a reasonable timeframe.” The service provider goes on to claim that “many” municipal broadband offerings have either outright failed or “failed to live up to” the expectations they offered.
The company spends some time detailing reasons why consumers will suffer if municipal broadband isn’t squashed. It wraps up its comment saying that private companies may think twice before investing somewhere that “it would be forced to operate at a competitive disadvantage,” and that several safeguards should be put in place to limit GONs.