Electrification 2.0: Rural broadband co-ops are filling the void left by indifferent monopolists

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/11/20/tva-vs-time-warner.html


Where the monopoly ISPs have regulated their competition out of contention is a yawning opportunity for civil disobedience. Go ahead - set up your network.


Conservative Rugged Individualist: “Co-op? But … but … that’s socialism! I’ll just wait until the for-profit telcos monopolies decide that my backwater compound is worthy of full broadband. They know best, after all”


No, a co-op isn’t socialism. Co-ops are voluntary. Socialism isn’t.

Incorrect. Socialism at its base is ownership of the means of production by the community as a whole. Libertarians mistakenly believe that it’s always imposed by the state or by authoritarian collectivists.


Tell that to the parts of Europe with socialist programs that were voted on and approved by the voters… You know, entirely a decision made by the voters.


A number of tiny Berkshire towns (where my parents live) with no broadband got together to form a co-op a few years back, and were well on their way to making all the arrangements for high-speed infrastructure. This required a lot of collaboration and coordination on permits, etc, all from town with governments of a dozen people or so, and they were in talks with existing local public utilities to build it out. But even in a very Blue State there were cries of “wait - that’s anti-competitive!” and put a stop to it until it could be put out to bid, all capitalist-like. Of course Verizon and Comcast had done the math years before, and had already determined the small revenue at stake wasn’t worth the trouble. So there were no bids. It is now moving forward, but there are still a lot of kinks to work out. https://www.berkshireeagle.com/stories/wiredwest-fiber-network-in-hilltowns-again-a-possibility,519234


That is only true when speaking of very narrow definition of socialism as a political rather than an economic model. By limiting yourself to a tired and incomplete definition of socialism you are limiting your horizons and hobbling your personal growth. Consider applying a more realistic and modern use of the word socialism to which the rest of the progressive movement seems to have already adopted. Socialism is a range of economic and political systems and theories. We can use socialism in a way not mentioned by Websters definition #1.
Also, try to keep in mind that the United States is and always has been at it’s core a socialist nation with regards to how the federal government operates. The roads you travel, the police who patrol them, the firetrucks that use those roads, the military which protects us - these are all socialism.
To put it in a socialist model perspective, our government produces laws with in turn create services, programs, and bureaucracies in order to serve the people. That is the method of production. The means of production are our taxes. They are the fuel of production. Both the government and the taxes it collects function and operate at the will of the people. The people decide who makes the laws. Therefore the people control the means and method of production in our government. Had the term socialism existed in 1776, it would have been used to describe our form of government. That our military industrial complex decided that we had to fight socialism abroad gave the people of the United States a very skewed and flawed view of socialism after decades of unending propaganda. But today you are free. Today you can think for yourself. Today, you can have a more informed opinion than did your grandfather. Take advantage brother. Take advantage and make yourself a better and more complete person.


This has been tried in several States, and the monopoly carriers have spent serious money making it illegal in them. Texas comes to mind.

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