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Time Warner and Embarq can't compete with city-owned ISP, trying to outlaw it

Nilay Patel
04.22.09
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Man, Time Warner Cable -- you are some shady players. Hot on the heels of the ISP's decision to withdraw DOCSIS 3.0 trials from areas that have rejected its tiered billing plan, we're hearing that TWC's teamed up with Embarq to persuade the North Carolina state government into banning community-owned broadband services. Why? Well, turns out the 47,000 residents of Wilson, NC got tired of paying for slow broadband, so the city government launched its own fiber ISP called Greenlight that offers some pretty solid packages ranging from $99 for 81 cable channels, unlimited phone service, and 10Mbps (down and up) internet to $170 for every single channel including premiums and 20Mbps up/down internet. (There's even a "secret" 100Mbps up/down internet plan.) Of course, these prices blow TWC and Embarq out of the water -- the comparable basic Time Warner plan has fewer channels and less bandwidth for an "introductory rate" of $137 -- and rather than compete, the two giants decided to lobby the North Carolina legislature into proposing bills that outlaw community services like Greenlight. The argument is that the big companies can't turn a profit and compete against a community-owned enterprise that essentially sells service for cost, but we're not buying it -- if anything, TWC and Embarq can invest the extra profits they've been earning in other areas into building services that would blow Greenlight out of the water. Yep, it's definitely some dirty pool -- does anyone have any positive feelings left for these behemoths?

[Thanks, William; image courtesy of IndyWeek]

Read - DailyTech article
Read - IndyWeek article
Read - Greenlight home page
Read - Save NC Broadband blog

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