Seattle Privacy co-founder Phil Mocek writes:
On the agenda for today’s City Council Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee meeting is a presentation from CenturyLink about a topic that sounds good on the surface–improving high-speed Internet access in underserved areas ofSeattle–but I suspect is more about a private business requesting public concessions in an effort to reduce the cost of increasing its profit.
I wonder if this presents the opportunity to leverage some improvements to customer privacy out of them.
CenturyLink is unhappy about SDOT rule 2-2009, which regulates telecommunications facilities in public right of way. They complain that they will not be able to get in there and help those people out if the city continues to allow neighboring property owners to veto their plans.
I would love to see more competition with Comcast, and I would love to have faster Internet service available throughout the city. But this smells fishy. It’s not as if CenturyLink is a public utility.
Anyway, it seems that when a behemoth like this comes to our representatives with hat in hands, it’s a good time to look at how their current practices affect the public, and how we might be able to bring about some change in those practices in exchange for the concessions they seek.
You want special permission to build your for-profit enterprise on our public infrastructure? Then start acting like a common carrier. Move our bits, don’t look at them, and don’t tell us what bits we can and cannot move.
I have no specific plans related to this, but thought others might be interested. Today’s meeting is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. (Tuesday, June 4, 2013), and video archives of all such meetings are typically made available a few hours after their conclusions.
Thanks for writing, Phil!