Fiber For Our Future supporting Tri-City Broadband for Batavia, Geneva, and St. Charles, Illinois

Citizens of Batavia, Geneva, and St. Charles Illinois
in support of Municipal Broadband
for our Communities

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About The Future Faster...

On first glance, the group seems great. They're all about getting the laws up to date so that telecommunications companies can compete on a level playing field, and bring the future here now. All they need is your grass roots support....etc...

So we did some research on TFF because we kept hearing about them. What we found is ugly.

TTF is a front for the United States Telecom Association or USTA . The USTA is anything but friendly with regard to anything to do with Municipal Broadband.

The following is from page 7 of the USTA Annual Report on the USTA Website:
(This is a big PDF file, so be patient while it downloads, and keep it open... we refer to several different pages in it)

Resisting Government-Owned Networks - The broadband debate includes proposals that the government spend millions of tax dollars to support government-backed competitors to our businesses, who have access to subsidies and tax breaks our companies can only dream of. USTA's staunch resistance has been very effective in ensuring these misguided and expensive proposals go nowhere.

See page 9

Resisting Government-Controlled Networks USF Access - USTA was the only national telecom association to engage a critical battle emanating out of Iowa that has national implications for the Universal Service Fund. USTA presented oral arguments before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that state run Iowa Communications Network is not a common carrier and therefore is not entitled to receive universal service. Although the appeal of an FCC decision authorizing subsidy payments to ICN was not successful, USTA is committed to continuing the fight against government-owned networks on all fronts.

See page 12

Members and Committees
Notice how many seats SBC has on the USTA Committees.

TriCity Specific
Remember all the SBC ads fighting TriCity Broadband Referendum this past spring?


SBC not only dumped a ton of cash on four color mailers and print ads, but also employed push polls and call centers to fight this. Why? Because they knew they couldn’t run on their merits, so they resorted to a smear campaign instead.

We’re not attempting to cry “boo-hoo” here, but SBC lied directly to the TriCity voters. Had we been in their shoes, we would have done the exact same thing. They told the voters through their media barrage that this was a tax increase, when in fact, it was nothing of the sort. The business model showed returns in the black within year three, entirely paid by user fees of those who used the service. Not one dime of tax money. They won by buying the election, plain and simple.

The Future Faster, we would assume, follow the auspices of the USTA. As evidenced above, the USTA wants to block any/all government competition. The important point here is to understand why most Munis go into this arena to start with.

Most municipal broadband systems are found in locales with a municipally owned electric utility (like Batavia, Geneva, & St. Charles). A Muni with an existing electric plant has a huge leg up on a Muni without an electric plant – they usually own all the poles and have electric crews in place to maintain the infrastructure.

Many of these Munis got into electric for the same reason they are now looking to broadband – a lack of quality service or no one was providing service at all. Look at the view for a minute….why would any city want to take on the unlimited marketing wrath of someone like Comcast or SBC? Because the service was lousy or unavailable. If people weren’t complaining, the cities wouldn’t even think about going down this path.

But what really scares companies like SBC and Comcast, is the fact that the local governments can provide better services using far superior technology at much lower prices. Why? Less existing antiquated equipment minus the golden parachutes of big shots all followed up with local accountability. Don’t like how things are being run, vote the bums out of office. Can't do that with a monopoly.

That's all been pretty much on a city level. Now comes the County twist.

Kane County leases a portion of the Geneva municipal fiber backbone (which by the way, also reaches all City of Geneva sites and all Geneva School District #304 sites). It connects all County sites within Geneva, including the Judicial Center and the Jail. The County is also in discussions with St. Charles to get to the Circuit Clerk's Office on Randall Road. The County has also talked to Batavia about similar projects. These backbones save the local governments large amounts of money. The Future Faster would block this type of project.

Kane County D.O.T. also owns large stretches of fiber to control traffic lights. In most cases when fiber is laid in the ground or strung on utility poles, excess fiber is placed for future use either by KDOT or for lease to the private sector. Under The Future Faster’s plan, KDOT would not be able to lease its excess.

On a state level, SBC is even worse.

Click here to read an article that goes into the anticompetitive stances SBC has taken in Illinois and around the country. Rather than rehashing here, you can read it for yourself. The point of the article is that the Bells make it a point to lobby for anticompetitive legislation everywhere they are.

If nothing else, please read the interview with Jim Baller, Telco Lawyer Extraordinaire. Jim, better than anybody else, can truly speak to why municipal broadband (and the right to build municipal broadband utilities) is important.

With Central Kane County having the ability to truly become a technology hotbed (TriCity Fiber plants, Kane County Fiber, Fermi Lab, and Denny Hastert’s DuPage High Tech Park on our Eastern borders), we hope to keep the area as technology friendly as possible. Legislation that works against us affects the whole area.

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