This episode of Radio Active Magazine features discussions with David Neal and Lee Gum.
DAVID NEAL, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND THE NATIONAL LEAGUE OF CITIES
Neal currently serves on the City Council of Merriam, KS, as well as the the Information Technology Committee of the National League of Cities. He said that decisions made in Washington are stripping local governmental entities of the power to regulate the placement of local cell repeaters: High speed cell service effectively requires a couple of transceivers per city block. This means that people living in rural areas and low density urban areas will likely not get service under current rulings by the Federal Communications Commission. That in turn means that people living in those areas cannot get jobs that require high speed internet. And that in turn depresses property values in those areas. This is already happening, and Neal is trying to fight this. It’s an uphill battle, however, because the the major providers of this new high speed service advertise, which gives the mainstream commercial media a conflict of interest in honestly reporting on this issue.
This is similar to rural electrification in the US. Early in the twentieth century when electric utilities were new, the major utilities successfully convinced the federal government to classify them as a luxury. As such they were exempt from the rules of common carriage that would have prevented them from price gauging. Thus, when electric utilities were first created in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, they were largely restricted to high density urban areas for the upper class. Poorer and rural people were excluded. Then the ultra-wealthy were discredited by the Great Depression. That gave the Franklin Roosevelt administration the political support to create the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Rural Electrification Association, which brought low cost electricity to the rest of the US. Susan Crawford, Harvard law professor and a Special Assistant for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy for President Obama, says that the 2017 ruling by the Federal Communications Commission that says that internet access providers are information services provide a similar drain on the US economy and will limit US economic growth.
LEE GUM AND EXTINCTION REBELLION
Lee Gum with Extinction Rebellion described their work and some of their upcoming activities:
- A vigil, Thursday, April 18, 7-9 AM at 31st and Southwest Trafficway.
- A rally, this Saturday, April 20, Earth Day, 10 AM to 6 PM at J.C. Nichols Fountain.
- A rally, Saturday, April 27, noon to 2 PM at J.C. Nichols Fountain.