Cox Cable is unilaterally imposing a data cap on their already expensive and poor quality cable internet service in Santa Barbara. As a Santa Barbara consumer, there’s not much you can do about it. They are the only game in town when it comes to broadband internet and they only offer two plans.
Our community needs to move beyond the stranglehold of that monopoly as soon as possible. Public provision of high speed internet as an alternative to Cox Cable is perhaps the one idea that pretty much everyone in Santa Barbara can agree is worth considering.
Our world class community needs world-class internet in order to retain more of our locally grown entrepreneurs, provide professional opportunities that pay well enough for our young people to afford to stay here, and facilitate the growth of our innovative local companies.
The reason we don't have better internet is simple - lack of competition.
As a candidate for Santa Barbara City Council, I have been talking to a lot of people about how we might make our community better. I have found that the one issue that unites almost every citizen of Santa Barbara - regardless of ideology or demographic - is that we are all dissatisfied with cost and performance of our internet service.
From a household consumer perspective, unsatisfactory internet is unfortunate because there is only one (1!) company in town from which to buy high speed broadband internet access and it is expensive, unreliable, and has poor customer service. Economic development suffers locally because internet reliability, upload speeds and low-latency are critically important to the ability of local entrepreneurs and companies to compete in the 21st Century.
The good news is that there is something we can do about this. We can follow the leads of Oxnard, Santa Monica, and Boulder and invest as a community in our own digital future. We can and should invest in community owned or managed fiber optic internet. Deploying the fastest connections in the country to Santa Barbara is not only thinkable, it is do-able.
But it will take leadership. Santa Barbara’s current City Council and Mayor should immediately commence the process of studying what our community can do to regain a semblance of choice when it comes to our internet provider. If elected, I will to make finding alternatives to Cox a priority of my term of City Council.
Public provision of truly high speed internet without data caps is how Santa Barbara will remain innovative in the 21st century. Let’s do this.