Wednesday Roundup: Broadband and Competition

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What can happen when you only have one broadband provider? The Madison County (Ky.) school system has learned that its cost for internet connections will rise from $90,000 a year to $1.4 million. That’s a 1,500% increase, for those who are counting.

Time Warner Cable recently took over the Adelphia cable company that was providing broadband to the schools. Time Warner said it will need to provide new equipment to the school district. The Kentucky education department’s general counsel called Time Warner’s offer “outraeous on its face.”

Time Warner is the only provider for the school, according to Jim Warren of the Lexington Herald-Leader

•What’s the #1 most endangered job? Farmer and rancher, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

The BLS says that there will be 80,000 fewer farmers and ranchers by the end of this coming decade. There are now 986,000 farmers and ranchers in the U.S.

The fastest growing job category (on a percentage basis)? Biomedical engineers. 

• The U.S. Postal Service could save $3 billion a year by cutting out weekend delivery while keeping offices open on Saturdays, according to the Government Accountability Office. The USPS thinks it will be $7 billion short this year.

The GAO said cutting weekend service would negatively impact local newspapers, the elderly and rural America. 

Here is a list of post offices that could be closed. 

• Chris Clayton reports that the Obama administration is still pushing biofuels. The administration would like to see ground break on at least four advanced biofuel plants over the next two years. 

Obama officials especially want to jumpstart cellulosic ethanol or other kinds of advanced biofuels. But the officials didn’t stop there. “Corn ethanol is already working to make a significant contribution to reducing our foreign-oil dependence,” a senior White House official told DTN’s Clayton.

• Scroll through Ken Ward Jr’s Coal Tattoo blog and you’ll see that West Virginia representatives are out to:

1) Block the federal Environmental Protection Agency from further regulating Appalachian surface coal mines. 

2) Block the EPA from taking action to reduce greenhouse pollution

• Interesting story in the Flathead Beacon about the gentleman who wrote Montana’s environmental protection law. George Darrow says of the current legislature’s intention toward the Montana Environmental Policy Act: “They’re trying to gut it, as they have each session of the Legislature for the last decade,” Darrow told reporter Dan Testa. 

• The Texas legislature is considering a bill that would allow hospitals to hire their own doctors if there are fewer than 50,000 people living in the county. 

Texas law prohibits hospitals from hiring their own doctors. But smaller hospitals have a hard time recruiting doctors or groups of doctors to smaller towns.

A similar bill was passed two years ago, but the legislation was vetoed by Republican Gov. Rick Perry.

• The painter George Tooker died at his home in Hartland, Vermont. Tooker was a New Yorker who moved to rural Vermont in 1960, where he worked until his death. He was 90 years old. 

 

 

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