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North Carolina anti-muni broadband bill on ice

updated 02:10 pm EDT, Wed May 6, 2009

N Carolina Ices Anti-Muni

North Carolina's House of Representatives today said it has sent a controversial bill that would have restricted municipal broadband to a study committee. The move effectively shelves the bill for at least a year and comes after those opposing it put pressure on the House to reevaluate the measure, which would have banned cities from taking advantage of any Obama administration broadband stimulus money while still letting private carriers take advantage of the funds themselves. It would have also in many cases made it difficult for such services to continue.

The bill was co-created with the help of incumbent carriers in the state, such as Sprint spin-off Embarq and Time Warner, which had proposed it largely to prevent municipal broadband from competing with their own services. Most of the action was sparked by Wilson, North Carolina's city-run Greenlight service: the fiber optic-based Internet provider offers a 10Mbps symmetric connection for $35 per month, or about $20 less than Time Warner's asymmetric plan, and also offers a 100Mbps service that none of the major firms offer.

Critics have noted that the cable and DSL providers have also in other cases tried to shut down municipal broadband efforts even in towns they don't plan to serve. The broadband stimulus is meant largely to address the gap by either offsetting the costs of expanding into these areas or letting local firms provide enough coverage on their own.

By Electronista Staff


  1. sharp3d

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2008



    Can someone translate this article?

    Time warner years behind their NC promise of 40MB. What happened to the 200 million tax dollars it cost to lay fiber everywhere in NC in 98-99. I remember seeing the construction burying cable everywhere for 2 years and now high speed seems ok but not 12mb or anything, just 6mb .

    I say wouldn't a competition from local companies, encourage TW to make good on their promise?

  1. climacs

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 2001


    there goes

    the argument that private enterprise always, always, always does it better.

    Sometimes, private enterprise colludes to keep service down and prices high.

  1. shawnde

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008


    re: there goes

    Actually, that's exactly what they're doing. They're afraid of a new entrant, and so they're trying to shut them down, so they can reap more profits from crappier service, and do a much slower rollout.

    This is exactly what we have in Canada with Cell Phone providers. They kill competition in its tracks so that they can charge more for less service.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001



    which is why one should insist on getting competition into a market, or, failing that because of the cost of entrance, regulate the h*** out of the monopoly.

    As for Wilson's fiber service, how much did it cost taxpayers to lay that down?

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