and Local Telecommunications Policies
and Austin are both innovators and leaders in
telecommunications policy. The Texas legislature passed H.B.
2128 in 1995, one of the most influential and
closely-watched state regulatory reform bills in the
nation and a preview of changes that would sweep the nation because
of the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 one year later. In
2005, this pattern was repeated: Texas passed telecom reform legislation
that was a preview of federal legislation introduced one year later.
significant feature of 2128 was the Texas Telecommunications
Infrastructure Fund, or TIF, a $1.5 billion investment fund
to support advanced networking in Texas schools, medical
facilities, and libraries. It was the largest public
infrastructure program for telecommunications in the U.S.
Controversy developed about how TIF was run and
whether its program was effective in bringing advanced telecommunications
to the state of Texas.
City of Austin also investigated new ways of improving
the city's telecommunications infrastructure, although
several of the City government's efforts have failed or been
weakened. Now, throughout the United States, municipal governments are
contemplating their own telecommunications services, particularly
4th edition, pages 30-38
Video Competition: Highlights of Senate Bill 5, by PUCT Commissioner
Barry T. Smitherman, February 10, 2006. On E-res.
"Swarming Texas Capitol Paid Off for SBC," from the San
April 17, 2006, at http://www.freepress.net/news/14993.
State Policy Tracker Web site, The Free Press, at http://www2.freepress.net/statetracker/.
Legislators' Guide to the Issues, 2007-2008: Telecommunications, prepared by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, 2006, on E-res.
at the Web site and links for the site "What TIF Has Done," at
"Lone Star Broadband: High-Speed Access and Economic Development
in Rural Texas," by Rajasvini Bhansali and Sara Meadows Tolleson,
December 2002, at http://www.utexas.edu/lbj/news/sp2002/natoa.html.
at the Web site and links on http://www.lonestarbroadband.org/
"Connect Kentucky Provides Uncertain Model for Federal Legislation," by Art Brodsky, January 9, 2008, at http://www.publicknowledge.org/node/1334.
Broadband Networks: A New Paradigm of Ownership," by Terence
P. McGarty and Ravi Bhagavan, MIT, 2002, on E-res as a PDF file.
Philadelphia Blog, at http://www.wirelessphiladelphia.org/
Hot Spot: How Richard MacKinnon and the Wireless City Project are
making Austin the center of the tech universe again", The Austin
Chronicle, June 11, 2004, at http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/dispatch/2004-06-11/screens_feature.html.
"Where's My Free Wi-Fi? Why Municipal Wireless Networks Have Been Such A Flop," by Tim Wu, Salon.com, September 27, 2007, at http://www.slate.com/id/2174858/pagenum/all/.
Scan the Web site muniwireless.com,