California senate weighs even more protection for incumbent telephone and cable companies

by Steve Blum • , , ,

The system is the solution.

There’s no love for independent Internet service providers in the California senate. A bill that would have made it harder for independents to put together broadband infrastructure projects that can be subsidised by the California Advanced Services Fund has been amended by the senate appropriations committee to make it nearly impossible.

Not only does assembly bill 2272 mandate union scale pay and union work rules

Under the [prevailing wage] law, there are multiple responsibilities of the awarding body, which is defined as the department, board, authority, office, or agent awarding a contract for public work. Responsibilities of the awarding body include, among other things, provide for prevailing wage determinations to be posted at each job site, provide notice of the project to [state regulators], report any suspected violations to the Labor Commissioner, and cooperate with [state regulators] in any investigation of suspected violations.

Tracking and enforcing the intricacies of union rules and California’s prevailing wage law is a bureaucratic nightmare. Not a problem for big incumbent service providers, which are themselves bureaucratic nightmares. But a total showstopper for independent ISPs that might want to compete against them.

The senate is likely to approve AB 2292 as amended this week – so far, there’s been no serious opposition to it – and kick it back to the California assembly for concurrence. Despite the bill’s leisurely pace, it’s still on track for approval before the end of the current legislative term next week.