This week President Obama outlined a plan to take executive action into making high-speed broadband cheaper and more accessible in the U.S. Obama intends to file a letter to the Federal Communications Commission to end broadband restrictions in 19 states. In some cases, state laws prohibiting faster Internet speeds have been written by special interests, like AT&T and Comcast, to stifle competition, but Obama believes this could end up hurting the country in a global scale.
"There are real world consequences to this, and it makes us less economically competitive," the President said in a video released by the White House outlining his plan. In the video, Obama points to a graph illustrating how Internet speeds in New York and San Francisco lag way behind Seoul, Hong Kong and Paris.
For states that follow the president's executive action and build out their high-speed municipal broadband, the result could lead to becoming a magnet for startups and entrepreneurs. The state of Kansas, for example, has no such restrictions, and the introduction of Google Fiber in Kansas City has turned it into the Midwest's hub for new promising startups. Here are other cities that can similarly benefit from the state removing its current restriction on hi-speed broadband networks.
1. Miami, Florida
Florida is one of the few states that has implemeted excessive taxes on municipal telecommuncation services. This tax policy could be preventing the city of Miami from becoming the gateway city to the emerging Latin American startup movement.
2. Raleigh, North Carolina
North Carolina requires cities considering municipal broadband to go through administrative hurdles, including releasing sensitive information to private companies and hold a referendum to determine whether there is need for high-speed Internet. Considering Raleigh has four startup accelerators, it's safe to say the need for faster broadband is there.
3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania does not allow public power utilites for the direct sale of broadband to consumers. Affordable commercial office space has lured a few entrepreneurs to Philadelphia, but the state's slow Internet problem could be preventing the city from becoming a true rival to nearby startup magnet New York City.
4. Denver, Colorado
In Colorado, municipal broadband can only be considered after it has passed a referendum. Denver has long had a history of attracting engineers as the homebase of both Dish and DirecTV. The restriction around broadband, however, makes those two the only major employers of engineering talent in town.
5. Minneapolis, Minnesota
Similar to Colorado, Minnesota requires a referendum before municipal broadband could even be put on the table. Major corporations like Pepsi and Target are headquartered in Twin Cities, but unfortunately unless the restriction on broadband is overturned the next American powerhouse could overlook the area.
Here is the entire list of states with current restrictions on faster broadband: Washington, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Tenessee, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virgina, Pennsylvania