Becker Again Before City Council

Jul 06, 2010

The following was read at the Poplar Bluff City Council meeting during Citizen Input on July 6th, 2010.
My name is Brian Becker, I own Poplar Bluff Internet also known as A month ago I stood before City Council asking for action. It’s now been 49 days of being prevented by City Cable to sign up new customers and in several instances over the past month, even lose the ones I already have.

Last month, Kerasotes Theater, a customer of 8 years, went to Municipal Utilities / City Cable to change their name & billing info to AMC Theaters. The theater manager was told that they couldn’t use anymore because they were starting a new account and can’t have any new customers. We were informed by city staff that Mr. Bach made that decision.

At today’s Municipal Utility Advisory Board meeting, Mr. Bach announced that the city hasn’t met with Bond Council yet. They have a conference call scheduled for Friday.

This issue of whether or not the city can continue to allow growth in the use of its network appears to have no sense of urgency to it. If this is threatening the tax-exempt status of our bonds, why would the city go an entire month without speaking to [legal] counsel?

How big of an issue could this be if it has taken 53 days to schedule a conference call?

The tax-exempt status on millions of dollars in bonds is in jeopardy…and no opinion has been rendered?

Either our city is acting irresponsibly…or, this bond compliance issue is not a real problem and is being used to harm

This is causing irreparable harm to my company and I’ve been forced to incur heavy expense to retain counsel because of City Cable’s actions against

We’ve been frustrated at every turn. And in my opinion, it is unconscionable that any business within the City of Poplar Bluff be treated as my company has been treated by this city.

Brian Becker

  1. Lori Crow

    You may not have your rates raised when you’re out of contract but you will however be charged a hefty early termination fee, either $175 or $350, depending on the phone you have. Is that right and fair? As a new citizen to Poplar Bluff (moved here a little over a yr ago) and coming from Southern IL I am amazed at the lack of community support to the people that operate small businesses. In Marion IL alone there are numerous competitive internet providers that use the same cable lines and the competition is welcomed, not stopped! Just like when a person is travelling and using their cell phone, if their cell phone provider does not have a tower in that town, the signal bounces off of a different providers tower and they are still able to use their phone, (unless you use Straight Talk). Even though the cell companies are out to make their money they welcome the competiton, that is what allows people to get better rates from one to the other. This is a monopoly, plain & simple. Too many men & women have given their lives for this “FREE” country we live in.

  2. Mary

    Yes, it’s wrong for the city to monopolize on anything, much less something that could be a cost saving to the citizens. We are the ones that pay taxes and give city officials their jobs. But ultimately, each business owner, city, or state officials are always looking to make more and more profit, regardless at whose expense. Even makes their customers sign a new contract every two years or our rates will go up $10.00 for being out of contract. No other business raises their rates when you’re out of contract (AT&T, Verizon, Dish, etc.). One is just as greedy as the other.

  3. Jay D. Rades

    Sure, why not have one provider that everyone has to choose. That’s capitalism? That’s a monopoly. Let government action like this stand and open up your wallet because they’ll charge whatever they want while you wait on hold for an hour listening to tasteless music. Expecting small businesses to create their own network is silly. The capital investment is staggering. Their trying to make payroll and hoping not to lay more people off. With the don of Poplar Bluff pulling strings like a puppeteer the cities ISP monopoly will turn into the DMV of the 70’s. We all know how great government is at running a business. None of us want that.

  4. Ken

    while i do have issues with a municipality owning utilities due to the unfair adavantage it holds. I would also state that piggybacking on someone elses network is unfair as well. I believe its time for semo net to invest in the network it uses instead of reselling someone elses investment. you have been reselling cable internet and dsl for years and these companies cannot continue to invest in there own network only to have it resold by a third party for a share of there profits. I know they still make money but the return on there investment is minimal. Just my two cents.

  5. James

    The city is corrupt. I know I use to live in Poplar Bluff. I got so tired of the city give me give me your taxes and then do nothing but cry red tape. Unless your walmart or company of that size you dont matter. They wont enforce code, the wont enforce parking, And I cant keep going. So we sold our house and moved to the county. I am tired of the city of Poplar Bluff and wish the state commerce would come in and audit the city and they will find a bunch of corruption. from the top down.

  6. Jay

    City fathers? What a pathetic description of these criminals. Bagby is a mob boss and Poplar Bluff city politicians are his underbosses. These dregs of society embody the evil, incidious nature of human beings personified by Bagby that are consumed with power and greed. This is a shocking example of city government run amok. Bagby’s family and those of his city government patsies should be deeply ashamed of them.

  7. Jim

    Does Big River Telephone & TCMax also acquire bandwidth thru the city. Are they placing these restrictions on them also? If they are, does anyone know how much they are allocated and using?

  8. Ruthie Carter

    The city only wants to destroy good things that we have. It won’t mess with the hospitals, the hospitals already are ruined. They are not safe to take your loved ones to. Who did p*** off? What bigwig thinks he’s gonna loose a few bucks to this wonderful entrepanuer (sp)? The “Good” Ole Boy network destroying good things again. I’m ashamed of them. The city will NOT get my internet account. If goes under, I’m signing up with Dish or a satallite company. Selfish Mr. Bach and his ilk do not deserve my money.

  9. jerry

    this is completely out of hand–the city has no right to play big brother—semo is a established business —has the right the compete in the FREE MARKET !better yet why not just sell to the city. or a nice fair market value of what the gross income is. what will they try to control next? the hospitals?

  10. Michael Koehler

    sorry Brian, ill be prayin for your business. We’ve talked before thru emails. And how i loved Broken Dancer. God Bless! Mike

  11. Carolyn

    Just another example of runaway government power. I don’t live in Poplar Bluff, but I have enjoyed the excellent services of for several years and hate to see them treated this way. I hope all you who can vote and write letters to the editor can stir up some response in your community. This is outrageous.

  12. out-of-towner

    Brian, I think this is an outrage. Having grown up in PB, I have heard about underhanded deals that the City Council has made for over 50+ years. I was really hoping things had changed, but this just destroys what little faith I had in the city fathers. I certainly hope this will not affect your delivery of Internet to those of us in outlying cities/towns. We depend on you. Everytime one of my friends complains about their internet being down for several hours or several days, I recommend to them. I have never had a problem with you, and I’ve been a customer ever since you began Internet delivery to Piedmont. My family and I so appreciate your service to us. Hang in there! We’re behind you all the way.

  13. Dennis

    mr. russell you are right. if mr bach can control and speak for the city, then our rights to prosper are already gone.

  14. Dennis

    its allways about the money mr becker. mr bach is seeing that the city comes out first.What im wondering is if they act like this now whats going to happen when we get the bigger bandwidths?

  15. Shyel Russell

    This is just insane that a city carry on and deny a right to prosper, did i spend 1965 to 1970 in Vietnamn to secure the rights of this country equally or to deny individiuals the right to make a honest living at the hands of small government? Glad i do not live in the city of Poplar Bluff and subject to such nonsense. How very sad.