Wait, the legislature has a pro-broadband position in the works? I’m as shocked as you are. Best of all, it’s coming from Utah Taxpayers Association President Sen. Howard Stephenson. SJR18 encourages the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) to work with municipal governments to improve the process of building broadband infrastructure in our state. As a joint resolution, it doesn’t have any teeth, but I’ll take it.
There’s actually some decent ideas behind this one. Permitting processes for construction can vary pretty widely between cities, pole attachments are often messy, and Google has made these issues part of their chief criteria for determining which cities they want to expand to. I also like the idea of laying conduit while the city has an open trench for other purposes, often the most expensive part of any build.
Of course, we shouldn’t expect too much from the actual implementation. Given the source, the rhetoric matches up perfectly with the incumbent pattern of “give us tax breaks and less regulation so we can do what we already were going to do, just with higher profit margins”. I wouldn’t expect that higher standards will be imposed upon providers looking for a streamlined process, nor would I expect said streamlining to benefit anyone beyond those with existing networks or an expressed intent to build them. The fantasy that it would bring in additional overbuilders is just that.
See Sen. Stephenson explain it himself and watch carefully for the code words.
Hat tip to reader Chris for sending this my way.