Municipal Wireless: Philadelphia Freedom?
Philadelphia approved today its deal with EarthLink to turn Philadelphia into a giant Wi-Fi hotspot. Philadelphia is usually described as the first large city to head down this path, though many smaller cities have already done so. (MuniWireless.com has detailed information about many of these efforts.)
I recently gave a talk on Telecommunications Entry and Preemption at a conference on preemption at the American Enterprise Institute. The conference was organized by our Richard Epstein and Michael Greve of AEI. You can find the papers here (and my paper in particular here).
My paper addresses past efforts in choosing jurisdictional level for telecommunications entry—cable franchising, the Pole Attachments Act of 1978 and satellite television—and also looks at municipal wireless broadband and video franchising for IPTV (television over fiber from new video entrants such as AT&T and Verizon).
I also have slides and AEI has a webcast here (click on the video link in the upper-right corner). (The webcast audio is perfect but the video reveals the dangers of a peripatetic speaker.) I will do a second draft of the paper over the next month, so if you have comments here or via email, please let me know.