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NC governor will let cable-backed bill restricting municipal broadband become law

Jesse Hicks, @jhicks23
May 22, 2011
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We've repeatedly hammered Time Warner Cable (and its big-cable cronies) for crying to the North Carolina legislature about municipal broadband. TWC claims it can't compete with taxpayer-backed ISPs such as Wilson, NC's Greenlight -- and that it shouldn't have to. In fact, Greenlight and four other municipal providers came about specifically because corporate players refused to provide inexpensive, fast broadband. And now that local governments have proven they can provide it, the cable companies have cried foul, pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into select political pockets all the while. That's the drama so far, and now a bill restricting municipal broadband -- mandating that providers pay taxes similar to private companies, for example -- has landed on the desk of Governor Bev Perdue. She won't veto the bill, meaning it will soon become a law; for whatever it's worth (read: not much), she also refuses to sign it. The reason? Here it is from the horse's mouth:

I will neither sign nor veto this bill. Instead, I call on the General Assembly to revisit this issue and adopt rules that not only promote fairness but also allow for the greatest number of high quality and affordable broadband options for consumers.

The legislation strikes a blow against public ISPs in a country that ranks ninth in the world for broadband adoption and download speeds. And that, apparently, is what "fair competition" looks like in the US.

[Image courtesy of IndyWeek]



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