(originally published in the September 2005 issue of Z Magazine)
Who might control the future of high-speed Internet? Will it be municipalities and communities that can make the Internet into a widespread and affordable public service like electricity or running water [--] or big cable and telecommunications companies, like SBC, Comcast, and Verizon, who would redline communities and inflate prices to maximize profit?
On the one hand, citizens across the United States can now set up their own affordable municipal Internet initiatives where entire communities can achieve high- speed Internet connectivity at relatively low cost, thanks to increasingly affordable technologies like under-the-ground copper wiring and wireless connections. On the other hand, in the wake of a 2004 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, major cable and telecommunications companies have been lobbying state legislatures to make such initiatives illegal, or legal only under highly constrained conditions. These companies rally under the banner of
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