A group of citizens in Nashville, Tenn., who want cheaper broadband access, may have figured out a way to outfox the telcos and cable companies that have mounted legal attacks against cities trying to build their own broadband networks.
They have formed a cooperative called WiMaxCoop, which will pool resources among local community groups and businesses to build their own telecommunications infrastructure.
Telecommunications cooperatives have long served rural districts, where phone companies were unable to build infrastructure. Now, WiMaxCoop wants to apply the same idea to urban consumers. So instead of the city raising money or using taxpayer dollars to build a new network, the cooperative,funded by private enterprise, will foot the bill.
One of the main arguments used by the telephone and cable companies in their fight against muni-broadband has been that government should not compete with private businesses. A cooperative could squelch these arguments, because it can shield the group from some of the legal wranglings that have plagued many of the municipalities trying to build their own broadband networks.