From The Philadelphia Inquirer:

In a recent article (April 24), The Inquirer explores calls for government-owned broadband networks. Unfortunately, these networks often fail as local governments lack the institutional knowledge to deploy and maintain networks themselves. Rather than trying to reshape our approach to broadband deployment drastically, state legislatures should instead look for more practical reforms where they do have expertise, though in an admittedly more mundane area: local regulatory oversight.

Broadband providers need permits for everything from zoning and construction to access to local rights-of-ways and utility poles. But these costs quickly become prohibitive to private providers, making communities unprofitable for investment and additional deployment.

In the R Street Institute’s latest “Broadband Scorecard Report,” which scores states on these more mundane laws that inhibit investment and innovation, Pennsylvania received a C. With a streamlined deployment process, legislators can help spur competition without the risky, costly, and often problematic solution that is municipal broadband.

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