Bell South has decided to un-donate a building to the city of New Orleans after the city announced plans for a city-owned internet network:
“City officials said BellSouth was upset about the plan to bring high-speed Internet access for free to homes and businesses to help stimulate resettlement and relocation to the devastated city. Around the country, large telephone companies have aggressively lobbied against localities launching their own Internet networks, arguing that they amount to taxpayer-funded competition. Some states have laws prohibiting them.”
Bell South is in a tough position:
How do you sell dial-up or DSL internet to people who already get it for free?
How do you sell phone services to people once they realize they can use Voice Over IP on their new high-speed internet connections?
What do you think is more valuable to the city of New Orleans? A donated damaged building for their police force, or a free city-wide high-speed internet network?
Should Bell South employees boycott Panera Bread for offering free WiFi?
What will Bell South un-donate from Google when they launch a free internet service ?
How will information gatekeepers like Bell South need to change to survive in a free WiFi world?