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Intel Supports Pro-Muni Wi-Fi Legislation

Intel late last week threw its support to a Congressional proposal that would allow municipal wireless network project.

The bill, co-sponsored by U.S. Senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and Frank Lautenberg (D-New Jersey) enables municipalities to spur development of publicly-controlled wireless networks. It runs counter to another bill, introduced in the House and strongly supported by the large telecoms, that prohibits such public-sector participation. The telecoms have said that such networks are competitively unfair.

In addition, several states, at the urging of the large telecoms have passed, or are considering legislation, to limit the right of municipalities to develop public wireless networks. Intel said in a statement that the Lautenberg-McCain bill is a better solution.

"Intel believes the Lautenberg-McCain bill strikes an appropriate balance between preempting state prohibitions on the municipalities that provide broadband service and requiring municipalities to operate in a competitively neutral manner under open, transparent processes," Intel said in a statement. "This framework should encourage public-private partnerships that benefit the marketplace as well as consumers."