The price of democracy

When a region wants to make a decision about whether to provide broadband as a publicly supported service, what better way than to put the matter to a vote?
Here’s what happened last year in an Illinois referendum about deploying a regional fiber network, according to BroadbandReports.com

SBC spent $192,324 on defeating the ballot measure, while Comcast spent $89,740. Fiber for our Future, the community group pushing the initiative, spent $4,325. Not months after the first vote failed, the Illinois area in question saw Comcast rate hikes as high as 33% in some neighborhoods.

Something is seriously wrong with democracy when this can happen. It is old-fashioned to call for free campaign airtime, but I can’t think of a better way to actually rescue democracy from corporate purchase.

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