Bridgewater Loses Lawsuit, Minnesota Names Internet A ‘Utility’

June 4, 2009

Minnesota (ChattahBox) – Creating a new precedent in Internet-related law, Minnesota’s Court of Appeals has ruled that the net is a utility which can be provided by the community, ending a year long piece of litigation from the phone company.

When the town of Monticello decided that it was time they created their own public funded fiber optic system, local telecommunication company Bridgewater was far from happy. They filed a lawsuit that many saw as a frivolous attempt to avoid competition in the small town.

But now, after a year of fighting, Monticello has come out on top, and the case has been thrown out.

“The Appeals Court decision sends a chilling message to the private business community operating in the state of Minnesota,” Drew Petersen, the corporate head of TDS Telecom, of which Bridgewater is a part, was quoted as saying in Ars Technica.

“The decision will likely discourage other private enterprises from doing or expanding their business in Minnesota. Further, the decision endangers the appropriate relationship between municipalities and private enterprise; it also allows municipalities’ tax-free financing to enter into competition with tax-paying businesses.”

Many other towns are now planning on following this example, in both an attempt to create more funds for the state, and to offer lower cost Internet to consumers who are often forced to pay ridiculously high fees to the only companies that service their area.


2 Responses to “Bridgewater Loses Lawsuit, Minnesota Names Internet A ‘Utility’”

  1. Old Man Dotes on June 4th, 2009 2:12 pm

    Well, actually, it appears to me that the State of Minnesota would be much better off if TDS/Bridgewater closed up shop and left. TDS absolutely refused to provide fiber-to-the-home service before Monticello started on the municipal fiber project, claiming that it was too expensive and had too small a return on investment, but they rushed to roll it out while the municipal project was tied up with a temporary restraining order. This proves that there is adequate ROI to motivate TDS to complete the rollout *if* spurred by teh threat of competition, and therefor proves they are liars.

  2. Rolling Along on June 4th, 2009 4:18 pm

    Money is honey.

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