Lessig on Muni Broadband

Lessig’s last (and mis-titled) regular column in Wired has a good start, but stops just short of the right conclusion. What’s required right now is not legal restraint of the incumbent network providers (although some of that may be in order), its the legal protection of the muni and other grass roots efforts.

What you see in just about every case (take Phillie, for example), is that the incumbents are not responding with technical lock-in, they are responding with legal lock-out. Companies like Verizon can out-lawyer any municipality, killing projects in the local courthouse. They never need to win a case, just drag it out until every one loses interest.

This is the legal protection we need to end up with a competitive network marketplace.