Overturning past rulings, Connecticut Superior Court Judge Richard Shortall ruled last week that communities can take charge of their own broadband. The ruling is a response to a lawsuit filed by the state Office of Consumer Counsel (OCC), reports Vice.com. The OCC took the matter to court when local communities last year were told they could only occupy utility pole space for government and school use, not for access by the general public.
“This is a big victory for our office, the municipalities and for the residents and businesses of the State of Connecticut,” stated Consumer Counsel Richard Sobolewski. “The ruling is important because we think it correctly confirms the municipalities’ right to use the municipal gain to try to solve broadband access and affordability problems as a means to better serve their citizens and businesses.”
Telecom Frontier Communications supplies much of the broadband access for the region and has opposed moves that would allow local communities to set up their own networks. Frontier has come under attack for poor service and maintenance, according to Vice.com.
The ruling is seen as a victory for those who support allowing more local control of broadband access. “This is huge in terms of removing a barrier to new networks in Connecticut and will be an experiment to see how it can result in new deployment,” said Christopher Mitchell, who helms the Institute for Local Self Reliance.
November 21, 2019
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