Today on CLBR (#149): The Battle Over Muni Broadband and the Race for Congress


Our guests are (i) Jim Baller of the Coalition for Local Internet Choice and (ii) Michael “Mac” McKenna the Democratic Nominee for Florida’s 10th Congressional District.

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Segment 1:  The Battle Over Local Broadband with Jim Baller of CLIC

The Coalition for Local Internet Choice is based on 3 principles: (i) The Internet is Essential 21st Century Infrastructure; (ii) Local Communities are the LIfeblood of America; and (iii) Communities Must Be Able to Make their Own Choices.

Unfortunately, the ISP lobby has sought to prevent competition from municipalities and local governments with great success.  Today 20 States restrict local governments from building broadbrand infrastructure, but FCC Chairman Wheeler is reviewing whether the FCC can preempt those state efforts.

guest1Jim Baller President The Baller Herbst Law Group, PC Jim Baller is the president of the Baller Herbst Law Group in Washington, DC. He represents clients in a broad range of communications matters nationally and in more than 35 states, including more than 50 fiber projects. He was the founder and president of the US Broadband Coalition, a consortium of more than 160 organizations of all kinds that helped build a national consensus on the need for a comprehensive national broadband strategy and recommended the framework that is reflected in the FCC’s National Broadband Plan. He also worked with Google on its Fiber for Communities initiative and is currently involved in several Gig.U projects.

The Fiber to the Home Council has recognized Jim as “the nation’s most experienced and knowledgeable attorney on public broadband matters.”In 2001, the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors designated him its Member of the Year. In 2007, Washingtonian Magazine listed Jim as one of “Washington’s Best Lawyers,” and NATOA made him its first “Community Broadband Visionary of the Year,” for “almost single-handedly putting the need for a national broadband strategy to the forefront of public consciousness.” In 2009, Ars Technica included Jim on its list of the 25 “Top Names in Tech Policy,” and FiberToday named him as its “Person of the Year.” In 2012, Jim received the Fiber to the Home Council Chairman’s Award “for his relentless promotion and pursuit of community broadband and of faster networks for everyone. His efforts have paved the way for the deployment of all-fiber networks across the country.” Jim is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Cornell Law School.

Segment 2:  Mac McKenna, Dem. Nominee for FL-10th Congressional Seat

The race for Congress is heating up and we will speak with Michael “Mac” McKenna who has knocked on over 50,000 doors in his race to unseat Tea Party Republican Dan Webster.  See my blog post on the race.