×

The broadband bandwagon

ROBERT KEPLER

Renovo

Every where we turn it’s in the news about how our elected leaders are on board with getting the people high speed internet service.

The only problem with this train of thought is they want to use our tax dollars to do it!

Tom Wolf is on the bandwagon and wants a severance tax on natural gas to pay loan payments on $4.5 billion for the expansion of broadband service in Pennsylvania.

This severance tax will be passed onto the consumer in the form of higher heating costs!

The governor also created the Pennsylvania Office of Broadband Initiatives.

What’s the cost to the taxpayer for this new office?

Additionally, the governor will announce the Pennsylvania Broadband Investment Incentive Program.

Through this program, the Wolf Administration will offer up to $35 million in financial incentives to private providers bidding on service areas within Pennsylvania.

This $35 million comes from PennDOT, my research shows. That’s all taxpayers money, while our roads crumble!

There will also be $2 billion available nationwide from the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Phase II auction to providers willing to expand broadband access in unserved areas.

All federal tax dollars to private companies!

I received in the mail The Keller Report from U.S. Rep. Fred Keller, R-12th District, who represents our region. He is also on the bandwagon!

In this report, Congressman Keller says he supports HR4229, The Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability Act.

Page 10 of HR4229 would allocate up to $4.53 billion over 10 years to advance high-speed mobile broadband service in rural areas nationwide. Page 15, section 804, authorizes $88 million for fiscal years 2021 to 2028 to create maps to see where broadband coverage is needed. Again, billions of tax dollars funneled to private companies to supply internet service! In this same report from Keller he says he voted to keep spending in line and stop government overreach.

So why does he support HR4229, which gives billions of taxpayers dollars to private companies because it’s not feasible for them to supply broadband service in rural areas?

The Clinton County commissioners are on the bandwagon! They gave $10,000 of taxpayers money to SEDA-COG to do a study on getting broadband internet service to rural areas. They are all on board to do whatever it takes so people will have access to the internet.

How many millions of tax dollars will they give to private companies to get you internet?

Do you see who the winners and losers are here?

The winners are not the people in need of high speed internet. The winners will be the private providers of the internet service! Billions of tax dollars will be given to private providers to get you internet service that you will still have to subscribe to and pay for!

Who will control what the monthly fee for service will be to remain competitive?

Even after giving billions of our tax dollars to private companies to expand broadband service, there is no guarantee that people will subscribe to it!

How many of these internet providers like Comcast, (net worth $204 billion) and Verizon (net worth $248 billion) will get to bid on expanding broadband service with your tax dollars?

How many of these internet providers already have a monopoly in some rural areas and will get to expand that monopoly with your tax dollars?

Starlink, owned by SpaceX, launches a rocket into space every two weeks loaded with 60 satellites that will provide broadband satellite service.

To date, they have 240 satellites in orbit over North America and look to have the whole United States online by year’s end. This service will eventually supply broadband internet to even the most remote locations on the planet. The service will be provided by low orbit satellites that could be 50 percent faster than fiber optic. Elon Musk, who owns SpaceX, says he can supply the whole planet with internet for about $10 billion.

Imagine that! $10 billion to supply the whole planet with high speed internet while Gov. Wolf wants $5 billion just for Pennsylvania. HR4229, which Congressman Keller supports, spends $88 million just for maps to see who needs service and another $5 billion over 10 years to try and get rural areas hooked up.

Did you ever see anything the government can do efficiently, except spend our money!

SpaceX is not the only company pursuing satellite broadband services. The companies OneWeb, Telesat and Amazon have announced plans for mega constellations of their own. Microsoft’s Airband Initiative has a five-year commitment to bring broadband access to 3 million people in unserved rural communities nationwide by July 2022.

These are just a few of the private companies looking to create competition in the broadband market.

The government using your tax dollars in this manner is called a public-private partnership, or P3, a contract between a governmental body and a private entity with the goal of providing some public benefit.

The use of your tax dollars in this manner is about the same as gambling: Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose!

The only difference is, the people that we elect to work for us are using your money to gamble instead of their own and if a project doesn’t work out they lose nothing, the taxpayer is the loser.

They also use this tactic to get elected by saying “look what I am doing for you while spending our tax dollars to do it!”

Here are some examples of failed P3’s. Solyndra, a solar panel manufacturer, went bankrupt in 2011 and left the taxpayer on the hook for $535 million.

The Crescent Dunes solar plant in Nevada. In 2011 the $1 billion project was to be the biggest solar plant of its kind and it looked like the future of renewable power. Citigroup Inc. and other financiers invested $140 million with its developer. The project became obsolete in 2015 and left the taxpayer on the hook for $737 million in loan guarantees.

Tell your elected leaders to stop gambling with your tax dollars and let the private sector spend their money on satellite broadband instead of yours!

COMMENTS