The Swamp is about to get deeper with Blackburn appointment
If you want an example of how nobody is draining The Swamp, look no further than Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and what’s happening in her home state.
There’s some essential reading on Motherboard today, “Why Marsha Blackburn’s Rise is Bad News for Net Neutrality and Science” by writer Sam Gustin.
Gustin delivers a solid roundup of how Blackburn has spent years representing the interests of the telecom industry while receiving loads of campaign money.
Blackburn is a member of President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team. Her tenacity for representing the interests of companies like Comcast and AT&T are now about to come into full bloom.
With her promotion as chairperson to the House’s Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee, she will be able to push her anti-net neutrality agenda at full power.
According to OpenSecrets.org, cable providers like Comcast, AT&T and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association ranked in the top 20 donors to Blackburn’s campaign committee between 2015 and 2016. Her committee took in $49,500 from the groups.
In other words, her promotion is about the make The Swamp a lot bigger.
Community broadband endangered
Blackburn’s war against net neutrality is only one area where she sides with the telecom industry instead of her constituents. Cable companies across the U.S. have fought every effort to create community broadband networks.
In Blackburn’s home state of Tennessee, proponents must undergo “an explicitly detailed process to meet a bar not set for private providers intending to offer like services,” according to muninetworks.org.
There are 19 states in the U.S. that have barriers in place that discourage or prohibit local communities from deciding locally about whether to allow community broadband.
Magically lower prices
Despite the red tape, Tennessee has 8 companies that deliver municipal broadband. The companies have created scores of jobs.
And the pricing for Internet is very reasonable. Morristown Utility Systems, for example, offers a 50Mbps Internet connection for $34.95 per month. In Morristown, Comcast offers an “Internet Plus” deal where customers are offered a 25Mbps Internet subscription, HBO and local channels for $39.99. And they go one step further with a $19.99 Internet-only package for 10Mbps.
Drive about an hour south to Knoxville, and the prices for Comcast magically go up outside the reach of community broadband. A 25Mbps Internet subscription costs $66.95 per month with no HBO, no local channels. Oh, and you have to pay a $15 set-up fee and $10 per month to rent a modem.
While Republicans tout themselves as the defenders of small business and no regulation, those standards are suspended in almost half the country in favor of big telecom. There might be in many other states given that distinction if Blackburn gets her way.