Starting in the summer of 2017 Frontier and our cable television companies persuaded our Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to rule that state Statute §16-233, called the Muni-gain statute, limited municipalities in Connecticut to networks they owned to municipal purposes, prohibiting such networks for broadband services to residences and businesses. Several town-based organizations in Connecticut, with several individual cities, sued PURA. The first decision from Judge Shortall of the Connecticut appellate court ruled against every PURA argument. PURA and its allies decided against further appeals. Statute §16-233 is now affirmed and municipalities in Connecticut are free to pursue broadband networks for their constituents.
Were We Betrayed?
The conditions that forced Northwest Connect into existence–-thousands not connected to now vital broadband services, no competition in broadband services, no timely upgrades in our region–-grew from the 1996 Telecommunications Act. That Act exchanged universal service as a mandate for monopoly telecom services for competition in the telecom marketplace. For our region it has not worked out well. For us the Act has made universal service and real competition only possible through municipal ownership of new broadband networks. Yet our incumbent carriers battle against such networks at every turn. Yes, we were betrayed.