Joining Comcast and Verizon in their effort to limit broadband options for Virginians, Del. Kathy Byron has introduced a new bill in the Virginia Legislature that essentially bans municipal ISPs in any market where telecom companies do business. As a catchall protection for the cable industry, the bill also opens any municipal broadband projects not covered by the language to be challenged in court.
In sponsoring this legislation, Del. Byron is leading a direct attack on the best weapon Virginians have in combating exorbitant cable fees and what cable companies fear most –real competition.
Cities across the country have responded to concerns over monopoly pricing by Comcast, Verizon and others, by building their own broadband networks available to residents. In these municipalities cable companies have been forced to improve their services while cutting their rates by as much as 50%. Even though municipal broadband has been an enormous success across the country, Del. Byron argues that her legislation will protect people from themselves.
If you laughed at that quibbling excuse and thought to yourself ‘yea right, I’ve heard crooked politicians do that two-step before, Delegate Byron has gotta be on the take.’ Well, you would be correct.
Since taking office telecom companies have showered Delegate Byron with more than $140,000 in campaign donations during which time Del. Byron has decide to choose supporting the likes of Comcast and Verizon over her constituents in Lynchburg, Moneta, and the surrounding Bedford, Campbell and Franklin counties.
In sponsoring a bill whose sole beneficiary is the telecom industry, any half-wit joker could come to the conclusion that Del. Byron received these donations from the cable companies in exchange for a list of legislative to-dos.
In fact, a deeper look into the text of the bill reveals that a vast majority of the language appears to come directly from the cable companies, perhaps even written by the bill’s most vocal supporter, Ray LaMura, the current president of Virginia Cable Telecommunications Association. (No offense to everyone else on the Comcast and Verizon government affairs teams who worked so hard to get this bill introduced. I’m sure you all contributed a great deal. If you would like credit too for writing this bill, or cutting the PAC checks that made it happen, please contact us.)
While this district is not likely to ever switch from Republican to Democrat, Del. Byron’s constituents certainly deserve better.