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Telco Appeals Minnesota City's Fiber-Optic Win

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the don't-you-have-anything-better-to-do dept.

The Courts 162

tsa writes "In a predictable move, TDS Telecom has filed an appeal after its complaint against Monticello, Minnesota's new fiber network was tossed by a county judge in early October. As you may remember, the city decided to build its own fiber-optic network after the telco made it clear they wouldn't build it because it wouldn't be economically feasible for them. TDS Telecom then changed its mind and sued the city for unfair competition."

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That's great but (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25687811)

Minnesota linux users are still screwed due to lack of support.

wait wait wait (5, Interesting)

neo8750 (566137) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687849)

So they refused to build one. Then the city said well we are gonna build one and proceeded to build it. Then they sued the city because they built it?

I don't see how they could unless the city made a law(replace with proper term) to not allow the building of another.

Because that's like me going to a store with 100 tacos getting to the front and saying "wow that's to much for my blood" then getting out of line watching 100 other people go through the line and once they are out of tacos going "Hey wait a minute i don't think its fair i didn't get a taco.

P Thats my 2 cents and no i didnt RTFA

Re:wait wait wait (3, Interesting)

Roland Piquepaille (780675) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687967)

Exactly, this is typical telco bully-boy behaviour.

Likewise, if GM indicated they had no intention of manufacturing manure-powered vehicles, I don't see how they could sue someone who decided to take the manure-powered vehicle market into their own hands as a result.

The judge was right to throw the case out.

Re:wait wait wait (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687981)

> that's like me going to a store with 100 tacos getting to the front and saying "wow that's to much for my blood" then getting out of line watching 100 other people go through the line and once they are out of tacos going "Hey wait a minute i don't think its fair i didn't get a taco."

And with these words you epitomized the history of government aid.

Re:wait wait wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25687987)

So they refused to build one. Then the city said well we are gonna build one and proceeded to build it. Then they sued the city because they built it?

I don't see how they could unless the city made a law(replace with proper term) to not allow the building of another.

Because that's like me going to a store with 100 tacos getting to the front and saying "wow that's to much for my blood" then getting out of line watching 100 other people go through the line and once they are out of tacos going "Hey wait a minute i don't think its fair i didn't get a taco.

P
Thats my 2 cents and no i didnt RTFA

If you build it they will come...

Corporate death penalty (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688257)

I wish state governments would start revoking the corporate charter of companies that behave this way, as it is clearly manipulative and costs a great deal of money and wasted time while benefitting no one. As others have pointed out, the telco probably has no interest in actually building a fiber network, they just want to delay this process and make it as expensive as possible because they see this as a threat to their monopoly. They had their opportunity to build it if they wanted to -- the city consulted them first before it decided to build anything. That alone should absolve the city of any further obligation. The telco made their decision when they had every opportunity to make a different one; that's tough shit, let them accept the consequences of that decision.

The goal should be to deliver a high-speed fiber optic network, with or without the telco in question. Petty squabbles like this are probably a big reason why the USA is so far behind many other countries in terms of bandwidth speed and availability. Corporations seriously need to be sent a message (before it's too late, if it is not already) that they are here to serve us, that their interests have the lowest priority when they are at odds with those of the community and that they will be gone the moment they stand in the way of advancement. Any damage that could possibly be done by revoking their corporate charter, seizing their assets and selling them at auction (or however it would be done), and replacing them with a more reasonable provider is nothing in the face of setting such a good example.

Re:Corporate death penalty (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25688557)

the city of Tacoma in Washington state was able to lay their own fiber. As a result they city has turned a good profit from leasing the fiber to local ISPs. Comcast and QWest can't even compete in terms of speed and pricing. There is NO THROTTLING AND NO CAP!!! Every city should do this. The money they make from leasing their own fiber far outweigh any benefit those ISPs can bring to the city.

Re:Corporate death penalty (1)

Zzootnik (179922) | more than 5 years ago | (#25689399)

I've actually long been "for" instituting a better form of Punishment for Corporations, or other such Pseudo-Entities. If they get the Rights of a Pseudo-person, then they should also accept the responsibilities and other limitations that normal people live and abide by. And as they're only Pseudo-People, I think there should be a much lower threshold of tolerance with higher punishments to the entity as a deterrant. The "Death Sentence" should definitely be used- liberally- with corporations, as they do not currently have any Age-limited restrictions like actual people do...

Re:Corporate death penalty (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25689755)

Corporations seriously need to be sent a message (before it's too late, if it is not already) that they are here to serve us, that their interests have the lowest priority when they are at odds with those of the community and that they will be gone the moment they stand in the way of advancement.

The problems are:
1) Because of the legal basis for a corporation, they aren't here to serve the community, their customers, or humanity; they're here to serve the stockholders.
2) Due to lobbying and corporations' control of mainstream media, corporate interests are actually served at a higher priority than those of US citizens.
3) Since the Supreme Court has ruled that the Constitution grants corporations all the rights of a natural born human being, the smack-down that so many corporations so deeply deserve is not likely to come.

We need to redesign the entire basis for what a corporation is. It's the only way to change the end result; they are what we made them.

If you're interested in this topic, check out the outstanding Canadian documentary "The Corporation." Here's their website [thecorporation.org] . Interviewees in the film include Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Michael Moore, and Milton Friedman. The extra features on the DVD (mostly full versions of the interviews excerpted in the film) are extensive and worth seeing if you enjoy the film. I checked it out from the library and will probably own it soon.

Re:wait wait wait (3, Interesting)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688453)

I think your forgetting a couple of steps here.

First, you not going into a certain line of business because you can't see the return is not the same thing as an open bidding process for a government to go into the same line of business. Second, there are a lot more then owning the network that needs an open bid process, construction, use of existing right of ways and so on all ne to go through an unbiased open bid process.

You see, building it for me might not be profitable enough to justify the expense. But building it for you might be more then profitable enough. Adn when you are a government, even though I didn't want to build it for me, you still have to include me in the open bidding process to build it for you. The impression I'm getting here is that the telecom was shut out of everything because they didn't want to build it for themselves. And yes, that does present a problem because a government contract shouldn't be dependent on doing something for the government at your expense.

Re:wait wait wait (2, Interesting)

Zigurd (3528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688507)

It is perfectly fair for a government letting a contract to limit that contract to entities that are not suing it. That's like an arbitration clause in a contract.

Re:wait wait wait (0, Troll)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25689279)

No, it isn't fair for a city to do that. Otherwise the city could use the exclusion of future contracts as a reason to force someone or some company into not suing when they had a right to.

You yourself can follow that line of reasoning but lets say you provided the city with IT support at one of their buildings. Now lets say that a city vehicle was being operated by a city employee while under the influence of alcohol and the city hosted the party that served him, and that vehicle crashed through your house. should you have to worry anout losing your job or contract with the city to sue from compensation when the insurance company only wants to pay enough to tear the house down but not rebuild it to the size and quality is was before the accident?

How about a more close example. Suppose the city illegally charged you for expenses it incured when it changed the plans of a project you were working on. Should you be barred from future city contracts if you sue to streighten that out and recieve the full compensation due to you?

Personal Responsibility (1)

Albinoman (584294) | more than 5 years ago | (#25689483)

That first example is the perfect for what is the wrong reasoning. That guy who threw alcohol down his own throat and drove a vehicle not owned by him should be sued by that city and the person who's house was destroyed. When you sue the government, it's not like the politicians write the check. We do. Being able to hide behind the government or any company's checkbook should never have been allowed.

To say the city "illegally charged" someone presumes that guilt has already been determined and all debts are square. And no, that is a ridiculous reason to exclude someone from a contract, anyone would agree.

Your previous argument is self-serving and naive. A company's only goal is to make money, they care nothing for the people they service. They saw no immediate return and refused to build the lines. The PEOPLE, not the government, which you should think of as the same thing, wanted the connection. Who are you to tell the people of a town they cannot build a fiber optic network, of their own expense, in their own town?

Re:wait wait wait (5, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688661)

They were asked to deploy the fiber for the residents of the city. They said no. The city then decided to do the deploying itself for exactly the same people in exactly the same place.

City to whiny spoiled brat of a company: "you snooze, you loose".

This is part of a recurring pattern of corporations with an inflated sense of entitlement expecting for people to wait around in the dark ages until they ever so graciously choose to let them pay them for entrance into the 21st century. If the people decide that self help is in order, the companies suddenly whine to the courts that it cuts into their profits (that they had no plans to work for).

If the telecom wanted to be the ones contracted to roll out the network, the suit would allege that the bidding was rigged or that they were not given a fair chance to bid. Instead, they're claiming that it is illegal for the city to contract to build such a network AT ALL with ANYONE.

In other words, they didn't want to build the network, but DID want the area to remain without one just in case they changed their minds.

Consider, if an independent group of citizens have the right to form a co-op, they also have the right to vote that their existent government be that co-op. They chose the latter by a decent margin in a referendum.

Re:wait wait wait (0, Redundant)

c (8461) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688679)

> So they refused to build one. Then the city said well we are gonna build one
> and proceeded to build it. Then they sued the city because they built it?

I'm kinda wondering how that isn't estoppel? Did TDS not put anything in writing? Or does the city think it's more important to fight on the basis that the city can legally do this sort of thing than on a legal ground which is really only applicable to this one situation?

c.

Re:wait wait wait (1)

perlchild (582235) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688785)

I interpret this more like this:
We won't be profitable building this network, so we won't without subsidies from the city. But the city figured building their own network would be cheaper. Now they're suing for the privilege of keeping their prices up.

Re:wait wait wait (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 5 years ago | (#25689005)

Well, the fact that they don't want to build a fiber network doesn't mean they aren't selling network services in the city. They might be selling DSL or cable Internet, and the city fiber infrastructure would certainly put that business out of service.

It gets down to philosophical differences about economic value and the role of government. According to one point of view, the government should above all do no harm to any business. If a business wants to sell government weather data, the government ought to make it hard for individuals to get the data directly. By the same token, if a private company wants to provide network services in an area, the government has no business providing better or cheaper services.

just like kids (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25687915)

Mom: Who wants the blue cup?
Kid1: I want the yellow cup.
Kid2: I want the blue cup.
Kid1: (screaming) No! I want the blue cup!

Re:just like kids (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25688101)

2kids2cu....?

I call BS (2, Informative)

SnatchMan (1062110) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687927)

This is the company with a monopoly on [some|most] of rural MN telecommunications and broadband...

A Guide To The Barack Obongo Presidency (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25687951)

NIGGER OWNERS MANUAL

Congratulations on your purchase of a brand new nigger! If handled properly, your apeman will give years of valuable, if reluctant, service.

INSTALLING YOUR NIGGER.
You should install your nigger differently according to whether you have purchased the field or house model. Field niggers work best in a serial configuration, i.e. chained together. Chain your nigger to another nigger immediately after unpacking it, and don't even think about taking that chain off, ever. Many niggers start singing as soon as you put a chain on them. This habit can usually be thrashed out of them if nipped in the bud. House niggers work best as standalone units, but should be hobbled or hamstrung to prevent attempts at escape. At this stage, your nigger can also be given a name. Most owners use the same names over and over, since niggers become confused by too much data. Rufus, Rastus, Remus, Toby, Carslisle, Carlton, Hey-You!-Yes-you!, Yeller, Blackstar, and Sambo are all effective names for your new buck nigger. If your nigger is a ho, it should be called Latrelle, L'Tanya, or Jemima. Some owners call their nigger hoes Latrine for a joke. Pearl, Blossom, and Ivory are also righteous names for nigger hoes. These names go straight over your nigger's head, by the way.

CONFIGURING YOUR NIGGER
Owing to a design error, your nigger comes equipped with a tongue and vocal chords. Most niggers can master only a few basic human phrases with this apparatus - "muh dick" being the most popular. However, others make barking, yelping, yapping noises and appear to be in some pain, so you should probably call a vet and have him remove your nigger's tongue. Once de-tongued your nigger will be a lot happier - at least, you won't hear it complaining anywhere near as much. Niggers have nothing interesting to say, anyway. Many owners also castrate their niggers for health reasons (yours, mine, and that of women, not the nigger's). This is strongly recommended, and frankly, it's a mystery why this is not done on the boat

HOUSING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger can be accommodated in cages with stout iron bars. Make sure, however, that the bars are wide enough to push pieces of nigger food through. The rule of thumb is, four niggers per square yard of cage. So a fifteen foot by thirty foot nigger cage can accommodate two hundred niggers. You can site a nigger cage anywhere, even on soft ground. Don't worry about your nigger fashioning makeshift shovels out of odd pieces of wood and digging an escape tunnel under the bars of the cage. Niggers never invented the shovel before and they're not about to now. In any case, your nigger is certainly too lazy to attempt escape. As long as the free food holds out, your nigger is living better than it did in Africa, so it will stay put. Buck niggers and hoe niggers can be safely accommodated in the same cage, as bucks never attempt sex with black hoes.

FEEDING YOUR NIGGER.
Your Nigger likes fried chicken, corn bread, and watermelon. You should therefore give it none of these things because its lazy ass almost certainly doesn't deserve it. Instead, feed it on porridge with salt, and creek water. Your nigger will supplement its diet with whatever it finds in the fields, other niggers, etc. Experienced nigger owners sometimes push watermelon slices through the bars of the nigger cage at the end of the day as a treat, but only if all niggers have worked well and nothing has been stolen that day. Mike of the Old Ranch Plantation reports that this last one is a killer, since all niggers steal something almost every single day of their lives. He reports he doesn't have to spend much on free watermelon for his niggers as a result. You should never allow your nigger meal breaks while at work, since if it stops work for more than ten minutes it will need to be retrained. You would be surprised how long it takes to teach a nigger to pick cotton. You really would. Coffee beans? Don't ask. You have no idea.

MAKING YOUR NIGGER WORK.
Niggers are very, very averse to work of any kind. The nigger's most prominent anatomical feature, after all, its oversized buttocks, which have evolved to make it more comfortable for your nigger to sit around all day doing nothing for its entire life. Niggers are often good runners, too, to enable them to sprint quickly in the opposite direction if they see work heading their way. The solution to this is to *dupe* your nigger into working. After installation, encourage it towards the cotton field with blows of a wooden club, fence post, baseball bat, etc., and then tell it that all that cotton belongs to a white man, who won't be back until tomorrow. Your nigger will then frantically compete with the other field niggers to steal as much of that cotton as it can before the white man returns. At the end of the day, return your nigger to its cage and laugh at its stupidity, then repeat the same trick every day indefinitely. Your nigger comes equipped with the standard nigger IQ of 75 and a memory to match, so it will forget this trick overnight. Niggers can start work at around 5am. You should then return to bed and come back at around 10am. Your niggers can then work through until around 10pm or whenever the light fades.

ENTERTAINING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger enjoys play, like most animals, so you should play with it regularly. A happy smiling nigger works best. Games niggers enjoy include: 1) A good thrashing: every few days, take your nigger's pants down, hang it up by its heels, and have some of your other niggers thrash it with a club or whip. Your nigger will signal its intense enjoyment by shrieking and sobbing. 2) Lynch the nigger: niggers are cheap and there are millions more where yours came from. So every now and then, push the boat out a bit and lynch a nigger.

Lynchings are best done with a rope over the branch of a tree, and niggers just love to be lynched. It makes them feel special. Make your other niggers watch. They'll be so grateful, they'll work harder for a day or two (and then you can lynch another one). 3) Nigger dragging: Tie your nigger by one wrist to the tow bar on the back of suitable vehicle, then drive away at approximately 50mph. Your nigger's shrieks of enjoyment will be heard for miles. It will shriek until it falls apart. To prolong the fun for the nigger, do *NOT* drag him by his feet, as his head comes off too soon. This is painless for the nigger, but spoils the fun. Always wear a seatbelt and never exceed the speed limit. 4) Playing on the PNL: a variation on (2), except you can lynch your nigger out in the fields, thus saving work time. Niggers enjoy this game best if the PNL is operated by a man in a tall white hood. 5) Hunt the nigger: a variation of Hunt the Slipper, but played outdoors, with Dobermans. WARNING: do not let your Dobermans bite a nigger, as they are highly toxic.

DISPOSAL OF DEAD NIGGERS.
Niggers die on average at around 40, which some might say is 40 years too late, but there you go. Most people prefer their niggers dead, in fact. When yours dies, report the license number of the car that did the drive-by shooting of your nigger. The police will collect the nigger and dispose of it for you.

COMMON PROBLEMS WITH NIGGERS - MY NIGGER IS VERY AGGRESIVE
Have it put down, for god's sake. Who needs an uppity nigger? What are we, short of niggers or something?

MY NIGGER KEEPS RAPING WHITE WOMEN
They all do this. Shorten your nigger's chain so it can't reach any white women, and arm heavily any white women who might go near it.

WILL MY NIGGER ATTACK ME?
Not unless it outnumbers you 20 to 1, and even then, it's not likely. If niggers successfully overthrew their owners, they'd have to sort out their own food. This is probably why nigger uprisings were nonexistent (until some fool gave them rights).

MY NIGGER bitches ABOUT ITS "RIGHTS" AND "RACISM".
Yeah, well, it would. Tell it to shut the fuck up.

MY NIGGER'S HIDE IS A FUNNY COLOR. - WHAT IS THE CORRECT SHADE FOR A NIGGER?
A nigger's skin is actually more or less transparent. That brown color you can see is the shit your nigger is full of. This is why some models of nigger are sold as "The Shitskin".

MY NIGGER ACTS LIKE A NIGGER, BUT IS WHITE.
What you have there is a "wigger". Rough crowd. WOW!

IS THAT LIKE AN ALBINO? ARE THEY RARE?
They're as common as dog shit and about as valuable. In fact, one of them was President between 1992 and 2000. Put your wigger in a cage with a few hundred genuine niggers and you'll soon find it stops acting like a nigger. However, leave it in the cage and let the niggers dispose of it. The best thing for any wigger is a dose of TNB.

MY NIGGER SMELLS REALLY BAD
And you were expecting what?

SHOULD I STORE MY DEAD NIGGER?
When you came in here, did you see a sign that said "Dead nigger storage"? .That's because there ain't no goddamn sign.

Yeah, about monticello... (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687961)

I live just outside Minneapolis, and I can't really blame them. Nobody up here thinks much of Monticello... Most minnesotans couldn't even find it on a map. That said, how is this "unfair competition"? They had their chance and they biffed it. They might have something to say if the city won't give them easement to lay their own fiber, at their own expense... But I'll lay odds that what they really want is access to the city's fiber network without paying for it. Good luck with that!

Re:Yeah, about monticello... (5, Insightful)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688041)

I'd bet they simply don't want the prospect of any competition, since it will be substantially easier for any ISP to offer service to the city's residents. The city will be offering access to its network for any provider willing to pay for the interconnect, so there's a very low barrier of entry for any given ISP in that market.

IMO, this is *exactly* how Internet service should be offered in the US - solid public infrastructure to the customer site, and let all the providers compete to transport the individual customer's traffic from the local net to the Internet proper.

Re:Yeah, about monticello... (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688063)

Yes. Competition is bad... the intertubes could become clogged. :( You should repost this comment on the root thread.

Re:Yeah, about monticello... (5, Insightful)

BoberFett (127537) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688425)

Even as a libertarian, I agree 100%. There are some things that government can do better than private companies. Anything which requires a physical connection to every location and where duplication of that physical medium is not cost effective. Roads, water, sewer, and now telecom.

We need to move to a new model where the local government (local mind you, not state or federal) needs to own the physical lines and ISPs can purchase access to those lines.

Re:Yeah, about monticello... (4, Insightful)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688845)

I'll second that. The problem is that we did the first part of that (laying down the infrastructure on the government's, and thusly the taxpayer's dime) without the second (allowing providers to lease the lines as customers sign up). Which is to say that we got close, but forgot that model doesn't work when there's a single provider which then buys out exclusive service providing rights over those government-laid lines.

If Verizon wants to lay down fiber and then have exclusive control over said fiber, fine. But I just find it remarkable how we've managed to fail so completely at not granting monopolies over the infrastructure that we paid for.

I envision something like a modernized equivalent of the old telephone switchboards - tons of patch panels in a (state/city/town-owned) room that go out to local homes, and each ISP in the area gets a switch in the room. When a customer signs up with an ISP, they get a patch cable going from their house to the ISP's switch. If they change ISPs, just move the patch cable to a different switch. The city leases these lines out to the ISPs at, say $5/mo, which then comes out of your monthly bill to the ISP (NOT tacked on top like the bullshit that the cell companies do - that should be illegal) to help pay back the costs that went into laying down the lines in the first place. After the costs have been repaid, then the monthly lease cost goes away (or way down to just match the cost of keeping this giant switching closet running) - the lines will NEVER be sold to an ISP, just leased at-cost.

Of course I'm not a networking expert so tweak that accordingly, but you get the general idea. Seems very fair to the consumers/taxpayers (hate using either term talking about normal people, but they certainly apply here), reasonably fair to the ISPs (they might not be able to extort to their current levels, but they'll absolutely turn a profit), and it stops private companies from having absolute control over the infrastructure running to your house. I'm definitely no fan of government running things, but this seems like an appropriate use of them IF IMPLEMENTED CORRECTLY.

Re:Yeah, about monticello... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25689021)

Comments like that are liable to get you kicked out of the Libertarian club, what with the communist 'government isn't necessarily unsuited for all tasks save national defence' tone. What's next, socializing fire departments? In fact, I'd say that you aren't even a 'libertarian'; you're more of a 'normal, rational person'.

Cheers!

Re:Yeah, about monticello... (0, Offtopic)

fimbulvetr (598306) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688499)

The gov't controlled line that ISPs use in the interconnect will also be subject to gov't snooping and content filtering.

Re:Yeah, about monticello... (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688769)

Practically, how is this any different than what we have now, where the ISPs don't even demand a warrant before handing traffic and logs over to the government? Besides, the ISPs could put a dent in any surveillance merely by setting their customers up on a VPN to the provider's facility. I don't think content filtering is too much of an issue either, since they'd just provide the pipe, not DNS, proxies, or other services which could be used for that purpose.

Re:Yeah, about monticello... (1)

fimbulvetr (598306) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688839)

That's a pretty heavy accusation you're making - that ISPs turn over that content without warrants. IIRC, such evidence collection violates the 4th amendment and is likely not admissible in court. If, OTOH, you're using a gov't network to do said transferring of files, it's not a question of evidence collection - you performed the action over gov't property.

Re:Yeah, about monticello... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25688935)

Are you serious? What do you think AT&T and others were just given immunity for doing?

Re:Yeah, about monticello... (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688961)

The 4th Amendment doesn't factor into things if the ISP doesn't demand a warrant before handing over the information, just like it doesn't factor into things if you give a cop permission to search your car and he finds something illegal. You might be able to sue the ISP for turning your data over, but the government itself did nothing illegal in that scenario. It *would* be a factor on a government-provided line, since the government would be collecting the data from another government entity that would also be subject to 4th Amendment restrictions (unlike a private ISP), so from that perspective I'd think it's actually safer for you to be putting your data on government lines.

Re:Yeah, about monticello... (1)

upside (574799) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688781)

We're talking about the last mile(s) in this case. No point snooping there when you can do it more efficiently at a nexus.

Anyway, between data retention laws and the snooping equipment already placed at ISPs and interchanges this point is moot.

Re:Yeah, about monticello... (1)

perlchild (582235) | more than 5 years ago | (#25689589)

And telco-controlled lines are never snooped on? With a government line, you might actually get a say on what/when/where snooping occurs.

Re:Yeah, about monticello... (1)

elashish14 (1302231) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688539)

They had their chance and they biffed it.

Analogous to the way the RIAA b*#@$es about file sharing. Corporations are very persistent when they risk losing their niche, but then again, no one likes losing, especially when there's money involved and especially in America.

Re:Yeah, about monticello... (1)

vistic (556838) | more than 5 years ago | (#25689217)

Off topic... but I grew up in Eden Prairie but moved away years ago during high school.

I always referred to portable toilets as a "Biff" since that's the ubiquitous name on all of them in the area.

Is that where "biffed it" probably comes from? If so, that expression itself is probably also very Twin Cities specific.

The government also killed other markets (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25687963)

With its public roads and fire stations, the government also killed private toll-road builders and private firemen through unfair competition. Where are we headed to?

Re:The government also killed other markets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25688467)

Government should run things like public roads, fire, police. As much as I am concerned, any utilty that everyone NEEDS like phone, insurnace, power, (perhaps today yes cable and internet), the government should run.

This is a pathetic case of money hungry company and people spoon fed what to believe. That letting a private company run things like road building will benefit everyone, that is a lie and you know it.

According to the US Constitution I.8 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25688527)

Roads are a necessary component to mail delivery. As such, the government can build a road wherever the federal legislature deems suitable.

Re:According to the US Constitution I.8 (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688843)

1) That's a pretty strained interpretation of the Constitution. (Standard decision, and it wouldn't surprise me, but still pretty strained.)

2) The US Constitution doesn't apply directly to subordinate governments, like State, much less to cities and townships. The limitations that the Constitution provides are generally only directly applicable to the Federal government (without tortuous argument).

3) If you're going to argue like that, then I'm going to argue that e-mail is a form of mail. It's silly, but so is your comment.

Re:According to the US Constitution I.8 (1)

Albinoman (584294) | more than 5 years ago | (#25689579)

The US Constitution certainly does apply to all levels of government in the US. That why we move up the judicial chain, to the Supreme Court who determines Constitutionality of subordinates' decisions, not down.

I would at least argue for being able to communicate with other citizens without benefiting the interests of a third party as being vital, it is mail on an entirely different level.

Laissez faire was tried first (3, Interesting)

istartedi (132515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688763)

A laissez-faire approach was tried first for some of these things. Roads and firestations are not as compelling an example as old-school telecom is. I've seen pictures of telecom and power systems prior to the granting of the Bell monopoly: There were poles with 20 wired cross-members on them. Google around, there must be a picture of it somewhere.

Some things are "natural monopolies", where the entry of multiple players would be so contrary to the general good, that government must step in. Roads, firestations, and telecom infrastructure are all great examples.

Re:Laissez faire was tried first (2, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688911)

There were poles with 20 wired cross-members on them.

YOU MEAN THEY SHARED A POLL? Communists! When will the free market be given a chance?

Re:The government also killed other markets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25689203)

With its public roads and fire stations, the government also killed private toll-road builders and private firemen through unfair competition. Where are we headed to?

I don't know, maybe toward a brittle infrastructure in constant need of maintenance that won't survive the end of cheap oil?

Re:The government also killed other markets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25689273)

You haven't been to North Texas lately have you? There are several toll roads, some owned by companies based in foreign countries...

Still not getting it... (3, Insightful)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687969)

Really, what is the fscking problem? If the city wishes to build a network it should be allowed to, period.

A real debate would be worth it if the city refuses to license bandwith on that network to operators...

Re:Still not getting it... (1, Informative)

Quarters (18322) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688103)

The city probably has a legally binding franchise agreement with the telco that says that for certain concessions, most usually guaranteed quality levels for service to residents and competitive prices, that the telco may maintain a legal monopoly in the city. Once the telco said they would finally build the fiber network the city was more than likely in violation of an agreement they signed.

Re:Still not getting it... (5, Informative)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688225)

According to TFA (and TF previous /. stories), they don't have any such agreement. They were suing just to try to stifle competition - ironically because they said such competition was uncompetitive.

If you understand any of that, you may have a future career in law!

Re:Still not getting it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25688229)

Once the telco said they would finally build the fiber network the city was more than likely in violation of an agreement they signed.

This is complete and utter bullshit.

If it's possible that they would be in breach of contract *just because the telco decided they were*, then why would the telco be suing for "unfair competition"?

If the city were in breach of contract, then the telco would sue for breach of contract, not some "unfair competition" crap.

Re:Still not getting it... (2, Insightful)

Khyber (864651) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688865)

Umm, no.

City to Telecom :"Build us a fiber network"
TC to City: "No, fuck you."
C to TC: "Fine, we're laying our own"
TC to Judge: "Unfair competition!"
Judge: *looks at monopoly status, decides case is meritless on the grounds of 'unfair competition'*

The TC has NO BUSINESS telling a government entity what to do when it comes down to public works and utilities. If the city is making a fiber network as a public utility, the TC has no rights, period. The city may create and deploy it's own network as it sees fit without ANY permission needed from a fucking business.

Contract or no contract, TDS is abusing monopoly power in an attempt to force the government to back down - that counts partially as terrorism (using a threat, legal or not, to attempt to coerce/influence the government can be construed as such.)

In reality, the city needs to file RICO against TDS. This reeks of attempted extortion.

So let me get this straight... (5, Insightful)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688021)

LITTLE TOWN: "Hey BIG CORP, you gonna build fiber in our little town?"
BIG CORP: "Nope."
LITTLE TOWN: "Ok. *to everyone* Hey everyone, lets build our own fiber network!"
EVERYONE: "Ok!"
BIG CORP: "Hey, you can't do that! We'll sue!"

*BIG CORP sues LITTLE TOWN, faces JUDGE*

JUDGE: "So let me get this straight, you're suing LITTLE TOWN for doing something that you never intended to do yourself?"
BIG CORP: "YUP!"
JUDGE: "...GTFO BIG CORP!"
BIG CORP: "We appeal!"

That sound like the jist of it?

Re:So let me get this straight... (5, Insightful)

Albanach (527650) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688087)

Well except there's a bit more of an agenda.

You see they're not suing to win - they're suing to delay.

Maybe they'll be in a position to roll out something cheaper like wimax while still suing the county. Maybe newer technology will come along and allows them to deploy faster connections while the county is still being delayed by the lawsuit. Maybe the county will just give up due to the legal costs.

All the company cares about it making the process as long and as expensive as possible. Even if they don't win here, they might put off some other upstart city from doing likewise.

Re:So let me get this straight... (5, Interesting)

Sniper98G (1078397) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688237)

The Telco has used the time that they have delayed the cities project to begin laying its own fiber network. This is the very same fiber network that the city original requested to be installed.

At this point, due to the legal delays, the Telco's network is now further along than the cities. I think that they are hoping that if they can keep the city tied up for long enough then the residents will jump on their network because it's done.

I personally hope that the residents can see the advantages of their municipal plan and how it can create grater competition leading to better service for consumers.

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

ragefan (267937) | more than 5 years ago | (#25689247)

The Telco has used the time that they have delayed the cities project to begin laying its own fiber network. This is the very same fiber network that the city original requested to be installed.

Nothing a few misplaced backhoe shovels can't fix while the city catches up building their network behind TDS.

Also, I agree that hopefully the citizens of this city choose to support their city (not to mention their tax money paid to create the network) and use the municipal fiber lines.

Re:So let me get this straight... (3, Informative)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688247)

Well, not quite true about the delay at all. The delay period is already over. As soon as the judge made his decision, Minnesota can do anything that they want up to the day of whenever an appeal decision is made. Even if an appeal does favor the shitty telco. Most state constitutions have laws that say things like "if you did something when it was legal, you can't repeal it later".

Expensive and long process? Definitely. Will they put off another city? Not if the appeal fails. In fact, the fact that this article is a slashdot headline indicates that the US is watching, thus the decision will affect other states decisions to build out networks or not. Establishing precedence, etc is a big deal and can occur due to an appeal.

Methinks you want to be more careful with the information you put out.

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688273)

Then the city should ask that if they are required to be delayed, then the telco should as well so that they do not receive gain from what will likely end up being a frivolous, baseless lawsuit.

I am not a lawyer, but does such a mechanism exist in the legal system or would the city have to counter-sue?

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688671)

If the telco wants to stop the city from commencing with its plan to build the network while the matter is being litigated, the telco has to seek an injunction against the city. Otherwise, the city can proceed until there's a ruling or verdict one way or the other. IANAL.

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688871)

The funds are being held in escrow because of the question of the legality of it, which means the telco gains something just by having a frivolous lawsuit and delaying them.

Can the city seek an injunction against the telco for this?

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 5 years ago | (#25689413)

Still, just because they're a corporation it doesn't give them the right to file suit to stop a municipality from building this out.

If sanity should prevail I hope they lose their appeal too. They have no case.

Unfair competition? (4, Insightful)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688051)

What the telco really means is that it wants no competition.

Re:Unfair competition? (4, Insightful)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688097)

Essentially. Laying fiber isn't worth it to them, since they've got a stranglehold on service and no reason to compete. The city doing it is probably a major threat to their bottom line, since they weren't anticipating it.

Re:Unfair competition? (4, Insightful)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688227)

What the telco really means is that it wants no competition.

Isn't the entire idea behind a free market to that there should be competition? And if a city/county want a service that isn't available then creating that service for themselves seems like a good idea. Personally I think this type of behaviour from a company, doing things that is definitely not in the interest of the customer and the citizens; should be penalized.

Re:Unfair competition? (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688523)

What the telco really means is that it wants no competition.

Isn't the entire idea behind a free market to that there should be competition?

And the entire idea behind a monopoly is that you can set the prices to be more-or-less what you like.

Re:Unfair competition? (2, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688543)

There are some places where you simply can't have a free market and the same goals of government. This is why Utility companies end up with monopolies and lockout franchises.

Imagine if you had 20 companies delivering water, how would all those pipes run through the city and how would you know which ones went to your house. Imagine the same for sewage disposal, how could they tract a leak down to one specific pipe. Now imagine all the over head wires if 20 different electric companies participated in the same city. Somewhere, the free market has to be put aside because of other facters that need to be controlled.

Then there is the problem of service delivery. Lets say that you don't break even on the cost to deliver service to poor people on one side of the town. A free market would pretty much ignore them until there was a profit potential. Surely someone who can barely make the rent payment can't make a $500 a month utility payment. Then we have the population density issues too. There might eb rich enough people to afford regular service in one area but there are so few of them, you will never recover the cost of getting the service to them in the life spand of the delivery mechanism. So the government agrees to lock competition out if a company spends the money on areas that wouldn't otherwise be serviced.

And unfortunately because of this, you can't alwasy say government and free markt in a sentence that makes factual sense. Especially when dealing with telecoms who were one of the first government protected monopolies.

Re:Unfair competition? (1)

leenks (906881) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688681)

Now imagine all the over head wires if 20 different electric companies participated in the same city. Somewhere, the free market has to be put aside because of other facters that need to be controlled.

Here in the UK we have dozens of suppliers of electricity, gas and telephony available to anyone (for the most part - telephony is lagging, but is slowly getting therE). I can switch my supplier at any point and my service is provided by someone else, over infrastructure owned by a third party.

Re:Unfair competition? (3, Interesting)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688863)

The infrastructure was provided by a monopoly. Things might appear differently now but the truth is that at one time, it was and it still is if only one entity owns the infrastructure that the different services use. In the UK, it might be the government who owns it, but the point is that a free market isn't there because at least one aspect isn't free.

Re:Unfair competition? (2, Interesting)

deraj123 (1225722) | more than 5 years ago | (#25689027)

However, this system has the benefit of paring the monopoly down to as small an aspect as possible. This system shows that there's no inherent need to have a monopoly on the service. The only need for a monopoly is on the infrastructure. Therefore, that's the only aspect of the business that should have a monopoly, and the other parts of the business can be opened up to the free market.

Re:Unfair competition? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25689383)

You do realize that in that system, I can't offer docsis9 support over fiber (something I just made up) unless the monopoly in charge has laid the proper cables and such allowing me to. SO by essense of the one area not being free, it isn't a free market.

Lets look at this another way. Suppose I have the only shipping company in the world and I only provide one shipping container size. Now you can claim that making a product and shipping it to the customer is a free enterprise but you will be limited to the maximum size of my shipping containers. If you don't fill it up, your paying full price anyways. In a free market, you would be able to decide how it was shipped, what sizes could be shipped and if you could ship the product in a smaller container or even consolidate the shipping with other companies to fill a standard container economically. You even have the option of creating the shipping method yourself and changing the rules there too. Imagine if a pizza parlor had to hire a taxi to deliver pies to customers. How about if they were limited to Fed-Ex or UPS. You couldn't hardley call that a free market. You would call that a market with limitations.

The monopoly is there and you can't ignore it with the appearance of competition. At some point, everything will be effected by the monopoly.

Would be great (1)

mschoolbus (627182) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688139)

If all cities in Minnesota did this!

Competition + highspeed can't hurt!

Re:Would be great (1)

BoberFett (127537) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688441)

Hell, I'm in Minneapolis and can't get anything higher than 1.5Mb DSL. (I refuse to use Comcast with their high prices and horrible upload speeds)

Too bad Minneapolis is a den of corruption and cronyism. We're hoping to move next year, this horrible city won't be missed.

Devil's advocacy and unfair competition (4, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688205)

The telco did an analysis and determined that the project could not be done profitably. Governments are in the unique position of not having to turn a profit. Their "customers" are taxpayers, and legally required to pay whatever the government tells them to pay. Even the ones who don't want the particular service the government is about to provide.

The taxpayers can be astonishingly obtuse about that connection, clamoring for bread, circuses, and cheap fat pipes, and then griping when their taxes go up to pay for it. Or pulling money from other areas, like roads or education, without actually realizing why they have to make that tradeoff.

I can't help the obtuseness of taxpayers, and if they're (collectively) for building a fiber network then the telecom shouldn't be in a position to stop them. It's a privilege of government to force everybody to do what a majority wants, because often there's a profit of scale that goes beyond the obvious returns. Better education with kids doing research over high-speed lines? More web startups? Simple better quality of life?

Still, I think that the telco's suit is not as unfounded as the previous comments suggest. It's reasonable for them to at least make clear to the taxpayers that "government-funded" and "free" aren't the same, and that the confusion between the two can cause unfair competition.

Profit: Not either or (5, Insightful)

lenski (96498) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688385)

Profit is not a bipolar concept. The telco probably concluded, possibly correctly, that building fiber infrastructure would not provide adequate ROI. That's perfectly within their rights.

The community probably concluded, possibly correctly, that building fiber infrastructure would provide adequate ROI. That's perfectly within their rights.

As soon as the telco decided not to build the network, their participation in the decision was OVER. Their decision not to bother terminated their part of the discussion.

Bringing in the "clamoring for bead, circues, and cheap fat pipes" may be valid argument, but there's no guarantee that just because Government Does Something that it is guaranteed to be inefficient, or have inadequate ROI for the community.

Bringing a suit after the fact is bogus, unless they can show evidence that the community committed fraud during the original discussions about costs and revenue sharing (for example). So I agree with the earlier comments about the suit being unfounded: Absent evidence of governmental shenanigans, the suit bogus.

Re:Devil's advocacy and unfair competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25688395)

Except that the telco could find it unprofitable because they would be competing against their current services if they built a new network. It could still be a net profit for the population, but not for TDS to build a fiber based network. And it could be even worse for them if the goverment builds a network and then charges just to recover costs as that would below the price that TDS would charge as a monopoly and would take even more customers away from using their current services than if they were in charge of the fiber network.

Re:Devil's advocacy and unfair competition (2, Insightful)

convolvatron (176505) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688401)

but i think there is a question of standing. you're not really allowed to file a suit just to teach someone a lesson. there isn't a contractual realtionship between the city and the company. why should the company be allowed to use the courts to undermine the city's plans?

if you want to make an argument about public services and funding use the political arena

Re:Devil's advocacy and unfair competition (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688583)

There is such a contractual agreement. In the utility biz, its called a franchise. It is a contract allowing the utility to utilize the public rights of way in return for certain considerations. Principal among these is a requirement to serve all customers requesting such service within the designated territory. The franchise may allow compensation to be provided in the event that the cost of such service exceeds some defined return on equity calculation.

Re:Devil's advocacy and unfair competition (4, Insightful)

schon (31600) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688423)

The telco did an analysis and determined that the project could not be done profitably.

So, what you're saying is that the telco has now (by beginning their own fibre build) invited a lawsuit from their shareholders because they engaged in a project that they *knew* would not turn a profit?

Please excuse me if I take your post with a rather large grain of salt.

Re:Devil's advocacy and unfair competition (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688751)

More likely, they felt they could make more profit by keeping the area back in the 20th century and not spending on infrastructure would. They didn't count on the people there balking at that idea.

Now that it's clear to them that they made the wrong decision, they want to sue for a do-over.

Re:Devil's advocacy and unfair competition (1)

igb (28052) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688443)

The argument that nothing's free is one that taxpayers can make. You don't need companies helpfully making the point as an act of charity.

Re:Devil's advocacy and unfair competition (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688445)

The government can also underestimate the cost knowing that once it's approved and started, it will get finished, regardless of how expensive or poorly planned it is.

Re:Devil's advocacy and unfair competition (3, Interesting)

jcartaya (51188) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688475)

It is hard to believe the Telco is suing to educate taxpayers about the difference between "government-funded" and "free".

It is far more likely that the Telco is already entrenched in that town, and when aproached by the city they requested "additional incentives" to build the network. When the negotiations broke over this issue, the government decided to do it on their own, and the Telco sued because they will lose to the fiber once it is laid down.

Having said this, it is not unlike a gas company suing a city because the city officials want to replace street gas lights with electric bulbs.

Re:Devil's advocacy and unfair competition (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688727)

If you make clear that you have no intention of doing something (for any reason or even for no stated reason), then someone else doing it (even a government) is not competition at all.

Profitability is also different between a group of citizens and a company. If the improved infrastructure helps schools and attracts employers into the area, the city gains a wider tax base and the citizens gain a more prosperous community and better education for their children, neither of which a company would count as a return on it's investment, but the town and it's people would consider it part of their's.

Re:Devil's advocacy and unfair competition (1)

rhizome (115711) | more than 5 years ago | (#25689235)

The telco did an analysis and determined that the project could not be done profitably. Governments are in the unique position of not having to turn a profit.

If there's something that the people want but cannot be done successfully for a profit, then it's entirely reasonable for the government to be the one who does provide it. Market failures arent always due to a lack of demand, sometimes it's a failure to sell. A for-profit company is not going to take on a non-profit enterprise.

Bye-bye TDS (5, Interesting)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688485)

My company has TDS as an Internet service provider, and I've not been impressed with their service of late. This takes the cake. I am the decision-maker at my workplace, so Monday morning will feature a few calls--both to TDS and to our regional cable provider.
 
I had been investigating a cable Internet on-ramp as a backup connection, but now I think we should just move our account away from TDS. My sales rep will hear from me on Monday morning.

These guys (the telco) are morons (3, Informative)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688503)

Having been in the private utility biz, I know better than to say, "Not economically feasible. We're not building it." We always said, "Not at this time, but it is in our long term plans".

Within the territory in which we were franchised to operate, we were required to build out to any customer requesting service. As long as we were compensated for expenses beyond those for which revenue would cover costs. That means, as long as the customer paid the extra cost, it was always economically viable.

Public Power Revisited (5, Insightful)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688567)

Think back to the pre-1930s where power companies refused to provide service to rural communities and small towns because the profit margins were not great enough for them to bother. Only the Great Depression and Roosevelt got public power to those communities.

The "free market" ignored those small communities. People forget real fast and history repeats itself.

Re:Public Power Revisited (2, Interesting)

exi1ed0ne (647852) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688965)

Now this is something that I've been thinking about recently. Was the decision to force electrification actually beneficial for the long term? Short term - yes, hands down. However, who's to say what other solutions those small communities would have come up with. If people want something bad enough, they will get it. Would renewable energy be more common today if we didn't push for the current energy infrastructure? Would our thirst for watts be less? Would the current infrastructure be as overloaded with X communities with point of use generation?

Largely unknowable, but still something to think about.

Re:Public Power Revisited (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25688967)

They chose to live in the middle of nowhere. Sorry, but you don't have the right to be shielded from the negative consequences of your choices.

Re:Public Power Revisited (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688999)

That would help explain Roosevelt's outstanding election margin of win(s) I keep seeing in the newspaper charts.

Some libertarian or republican explain to me (1, Flamebait)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688605)

how this is 'competition' and 'free market'.

Re:Some libertarian or republican explain to me (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688891)

Who said it was?

Re:Some libertarian or republican explain to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25688907)

It's not.

ISP in the area says there's no economically feasible way to install a fiber infrastructure.

Government says, "ok, we'll tax everyone and do it."

Government puts company out of business with its ability to require tax dollars on an infrastructure that isn't economically feasible.

It's a catch 22 for the ISP. They go bankrupt if they lay the fiber, they go bankrupt when the government decides to play ISP with tax dollars.

There should have been a middle ground on this where the gov. installed the lines and ISP's bid against the ability to use them, offsetting the cost, over time, of installing them in the first place with tax dollars.

This would be like the fed gov deciding to design, develop, and sell a car for the people using tax dollars. They'll sell the car cheap because they don't mind being in the red. In the meantime, all auto manufacturers are put out of business and the gov runs a deficit that they don't care about because they're really don't accountable... they just tax you more to pay for it. Naturally all the auto manufacturers are going to go, "WTF?!"

Re:Some libertarian or republican explain to me (1, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25689093)

getting a 'license' to lock down an ENTIRE state, country, region is NOT free market. free market happens when everyone is allowed to compete in the same area.

curiously for some reason these 'licenses','patents','copyrights' and 'free market' somehow coexist in libertarian/republican mind, tho all of them contradict each other.

oo oo (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25689277)

republican party got blasted, but apparently that made republicans and libertarians in slashdot even more extremist. anything we say that contradicts with their holy church of holistic economy's preachings gets downmodded.

flamebait my butt. we are still going through a global crisis those people brought upon us. excuse me for voicing the truth, but you will have to stomach it.

It Isn't (3, Insightful)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688989)

This is just an attempt to use the courts as a weapon to protect a monopoly position. The tip of that weapon is an injunction delaying the public network while the private one is built, resulting in a "win" for the company regardless of the actual outcome of the lawsuit.

Really, it just amounts to a "hack" of the legal system. The process itself can be hijacked to delay competitors, or even bankrupt them outright through legal fees and other costs in the pre-trial parts of a case.

Without having RTA..could it be that... (1)

JezmundBerserker (1357805) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688819)

... the telco doesn't want the city to build the network infrastructure because in the long run the telco will have to maintain it? I presume that when a telco has the contract for the city they are under contract to maintain the lines? Having said that, maybe TDS knows that it will cost them money to maintain a non-profitable network and they are suing because they don't want to be forced into it from the city. Or I dunno, could be for profit too.

Youg FAIL it? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25688887)

of an admiitedly IS DYING LIKE THE

dismiss! (1)

jtgd (807477) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688975)

Clearly the judge needs to dismiss this lawsuit as frivolous.

You people are suprised? (1)

Pherlin (1131333) | more than 5 years ago | (#25689181)

Telecos have historically been far far more monopolistic than any other organization that I an think of. I always find it amusing that people complain about the CATV industry when in reality the Telecos are far far worse about upgrading infrastructure and providing a reasonable level of service. The primary reason that DSL service is so much cheaper in cable is because it is piggybacked on lines that are very very old that somehow manage to do the job (My parents can't think of the last time someone from SBC/Ameritech/Whoever the hell it is now called has ran around in their backyard and the voice quality on their lines shows it; Some CATV systems have been upgraded twice in the past decade.)

Anyway, +1 for revocation of corporate charters of dishonest companies that do not work in the interest of the public.

Remember, Andrew Jackson Dissolved the farging BANKS. Why? (As taken from Wikipedia, but pretty dang accurate:)

"The Second Bank of the United States was authorized for a twenty year period during James Madison's tenure in 1816. As President, Jackson worked to rescind the bank's federal charter. In Jackson's veto message (written by George Bancroft), the bank needed to be abolished because:

It concentrated the nation's financial strength in a single institution.
It exposed the government to control by foreign interests.
It served mainly to make the rich richer.
It exercised too much control over members of Congress.
It favored northeastern states over southern and western states. "

Sound Familiar to anyone?

pointless lawsuits (1)

He who knows (1376995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25689409)

they are behaving like the music industry.

Sounds familiar (2, Insightful)

asamad (658115) | more than 5 years ago | (#25689751)

Sounds like another american business group, with a flawed business model.

1) Over promise / don't deliver
2) Don't invest in the future

3) When the users get sick of it sue them when they try and do
4) Cry foul cause you monopoly goes away
5) buy off the politicians

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