Let’s Keep Brett Glass in Laramie – the Internet Needs It

by Mike Wendy on February 16, 2018

Brett Glass runs Lariat.net – a small, Wireless Internet Service Provider in Laramie, Wyoming. Brett uses “free” FCC Part 15 spectrum (which rests within the “wi-fi bands”) to deliver broadband services to his customers.

Earlier this week, Brett flew from Wyoming to Washington, DC, to have a visit with FCC officials and legislators on the Hill. He does not want to be here. But, new spectrum policy is in the offing at the FCC, which could affect his viability.  And, of course, the perennial matter of Net Neutrality remains a hot topic, too.  Both issues demand he voice his concerns to policymakers in person, hopefully boosting the odds they hear and then better understand how their policies affect small companies like Brett’s.

The Obama-era Net Neutrality rule hit Glass particularly hard. It put Lariat.net, which was once virtually unregulated, in the same ballpark as America’s largest, heavily regulated ISPs. Not only did it impose needless, time-consuming government paperwork on Brett, it tied his hands on how he could manage his broadband facilities to serve his customers; it forced him to subsidize companies like Google and Netflix, which got a free ride / access to his customer base without any monetary remuneration; and it jacked-around with his investors, who saw the Obama rule as undermining the value of Brett’s business.

Brett Glass – Laramie, Wyoming’s WISP maverick, visiting the FCC earlier this week.

And – with that battle far from being over – it brought him here, again, away from helping his customers and growing his business, adding yet more to the cost of that specious rule.

The new Restoring Internet Freedom rules seek to change that. They will let the marketplace and “light touch” regulation guide the Internet’s growth, development and access opportunities, like it was in the halcyon days of broadband growth and uptake, from 2005 – 2015.

I like Brett, but let me be honest. I hope he spends more time in Laramie than in DC. If he succeeds there, so, too, will the growth of the Internet for all Americans.

Let’s keep Brett in Laramie.

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