To the editor:
I am deeply concerned about legislation introduced in the Kansas Legislature that limits municipal home rule authority over broadband.
Broadband infrastructure is too important to be managed from Topeka. Broadband is to the 21st century what roads were to the 20th. Cities that didn’t get highways in the 20th century withered and died. The same will be true of cities that don’t get ultra-high speed broadband service in the 21st century.
No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, everyone can agree that it is the role of government to build and manage infrastructure. Whether it is streets, water systems, or parks; infrastructure is what communities need to thrive. Local government is great at deploying infrastructure.
Taking away our city’s right to participate in the construction of broadband infrastructure is contrary to American ideals. The proposed legislation takes away local control for the benefit of giant corporations. It’s the worst kind of big government interference. It is contrary to the fundamental tenant of conservatism: Local officials know best how to govern their communities.
If residents are happy with broadband offerings then local governments won’t waste money expanding broadband access. If, however, citizens are unhappy with their options then local governments are best suited to the task of working with industry to facilitate solutions.
I’d like to encourage everyone in our community to engage with this important issue and tell the Kansas Legislature not to take away our city’s rights. We know what is best for our city, not some bureaucrat in Topeka.