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North Carolina Anti-Community Fiber Bill Closer to Passing
As State Lowers Bar for Broadband Coverage
by Karl Bode 09:01AM Tuesday May 03 2011 Tipped by Dampier See Profile
According to the Salisbury Post, Time Warner Cable's bill in North Carolina aimed at making it harder for local community fiber deployments to operate is one step closer to law. According to the paper, the NC Senate "voted overwhelmingly" in approval of HB 129, which now heads back to the House for approval, then on to Gov. Bev Perdue’s desk for a signature. So far, amendments exempting projects in Salisbury and Wilson remain intact. An amendment banning communities from offering porn over municipal cable systems has so far not been included. Stop The Cap notes that another amendment in the bill actually weakens North Carolina's definitions of those served with broadband:
quote:
Through an amendment, H.129 will essentially declare the service as widely available if even a single resident in a particular census block has access to something resembling broadband. That could be 768kbps DSL from CenturyLink. If one person has the service, the thinking goes, everyone can get it, even if they can't. The Senate intends to deal with North Carolina’s broadband crisis by changing the definition of the word ‘crisis‘ into ‘accomplishment.’ Instead of allowing communities to provide service in unserved areas, simply declare all areas as being served, thereby negating the need for community broadband.
If you recall, insisting that one served user in a zip code means that entire zip code has broadband was the kind of carrier friendly methodology the FCC used for years in order to artificially puff up coverage and protect carriers from efforts to improve competition. Meanwhile, back in the real world, 57% of North Carolina residents have broadband that doesn't meet the minimum 4 Mbps downstream definition now used by the FCC.

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fuziwuzi
Not born yesterday
Premium
join:2005-07-01
Atlanta, GA

CSA forever!

Welcome to the Corporate States of America. We'll let you pretend there is a Constitution that protects individuals, as long as you know that's just a facade.
jkeelsnc

join:2008-08-22
Greensboro, NC

1 recommendation

HB 129

Yep, I have written my local NC senator and representative. The representative voted against it mainly because she is a democrat and because she is from one of the larger cities in NC (Greensboro). But people, just watch because this is exactly what you get with the republicons and esp tea party candidates in general. Fortunately, Gov Perdue will likely veto this bill. What is really interesting is that as important as this bill is, NONE of the local TV news stations or even the local rag have picked up information about this bill. WXII, WFMY, WGHP have all ignored it and the Greensboro News and Record hasn't had any stories about it lately either. Very interesting don't you think. Where is the money flowing from and to (from TWC into the media's hands in advertising dollars I'll bet? LOL)
netposer

join:2003-02-06
Nashville, NC

Re: HB 129

So on one hand you are blaming "replicons" and the tea party but the local news outlets (democrat supporters) are not covering it. So the liberal media seems to be the ones that let you down.
jkeelsnc

join:2008-08-22
Greensboro, NC

1 edit

Re: HB 129

They are no angels thats for sure. And a TV station thats already suffering from an expensive digital upgrade two years ago plus tight budgets on withering advertising revenue is not likely to air something that would anger TWC. They cannot afford to lose the advertising revenue. And yet this issue is more important than the advertising revenue.

Also, your statement is false. There are many conservatives in the media especially in the south. And for instance, WGHP which is the local Fox affiliate and OWNED by fox as a corporate station hasn't aired anything about this bill either.

Both parties are corrupt. Your statements are false. "liberal media" is just a canned phrase parroted from a radio program. Also if you look in most editorial columns in newspapers (at least around here) you will see comments from both conservative and liberal editors.

"liberal media" is nothing but an excuse to have a press that bends to reporting only the way a right wing fanatic decides it should be. But if the media reports both sides then they are "liberal". BS.
jkeelsnc

join:2008-08-22
Greensboro, NC

Re: HB 129

Another thought about local media is that they are dependent on TWC to carry their programming in the first place. It is in a TV station's interest to maintain the status quo if it keeps them on the air in a local market's cable system. And unfortunately, TWC rules the day on that. One of the problem is that they have an almost monopoly status at least on the internet. Dish and DirecTV are barely enough competition on the TV side.
netposer

join:2003-02-06
Nashville, NC

1 recommendation

For one I don't listen to Hannity or Rush. And a FOX affiliate has nothing to do with Fox News on cable. A Fox affiliate is not a local version of Fox News but rather an affiliate of the Fox Broadcasting Company. Yes, both owned by the Fox Corporation. But let's not get into the consolidation of media companies.

Here in Raleigh the CBS affiliate (WRAL) is also the Fox affiliate (WRAZ).

Is that informative enough for you? And don't tell me to shut up on an internet forum that I've been a part of a lot longer than you.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

That's what voting GOP gets you

When the GOP less government intervention they mean less government intervention in BUSINESS not personal matters.

People that live in NC that care not to be backwards need to move out. Maybe when all these southern states lose the most educated( and therefore the higher earning ) citizens they'll learn.
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink

Re: That's what voting GOP gets you

said by 88615298:

When the GOP less government intervention they mean less government intervention in BUSINESS not personal matters.

People that live in NC that care not to be backwards need to move out. Maybe when all these southern states lose the most educated( and therefore the higher earning ) citizens they'll learn.

Less government intervention in business DOES means less government intervention in personal matters. I don't want my city controlling my internet access, or taxing me to death to provide it to my lazy neighbors.

I'm glad the GOP is trying to preserve the profit motive, and save my hard-earned money, leaving the risk and liability to shareholders, not burdening the local treasury.

The underlying problem in most of these towns is the unwillingness of the households to pay the local market premium for the service they desire. You don't solve that by taxing your neighbors, you wait until technology provides a lower cost option (LTE, microtrenching), and a vendor sees enough margin to sell it, and/or the economy picks up enough that households find themselves willing to ante up; and no, the economy will not rebound with broadband access.

jazzlady

join:2005-08-04
Tannersville, PA

Re: That's what voting GOP gets you

said by elray:

said by 88615298:

When the GOP less government intervention they mean less government intervention in BUSINESS not personal matters.

Less government intervention in business DOES means less government intervention in personal matters.

Oh seriously?

Right- I forgot- this only applies to men... :-(

CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
quote:
Less government intervention in business DOES means less government intervention in personal matters.
The republicans were the group that wanted to control how you could have sex in your bedroom - and several are still trying to do that. Seems that is the exact opposite of less intervention in private matters to me.

And if republicans are also trying to limit internet provided by a community - seems even more so.
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain
Tobester

join:2000-11-14
San Francisco, CA
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
said by 88615298:

When the GOP less government intervention they mean less government intervention in BUSINESS not personal matters.

Couldn't agree with you more.

The fact that laws such as North Carolina's preventing local jurisdictions from installing local fiber, to better service the community, show business plutocracy at its best.

Unfortunately, business lobbyists work for money and the legislators who should represent the interests of "The People" can be bought with campaign donations.

I thank the "Roberts U.S. Supreme Court" decision for exacerbating the problem too.

KCrimson
Premium
join:2001-02-25
Brooklyn, NY
kudos:1

Re: That's what voting GOP gets you

I think the courts should allow the community to waste their money as they please. If the current market hasn't seen a fiber startup until now, I'm sure it will either fail horribly (burdening the entire foolish community for generations), or they will change the playing field for such businesses retroactively. Either way, let the buyer beware (and watch the productive and sensible flee).
Tobester

join:2000-11-14
San Francisco, CA
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET

Re: That's what voting GOP gets you

said by KCrimson:

I think the courts should allow the community to waste their money as they please. If the current market hasn't seen a fiber startup until now, I'm sure it will either fail horribly............

We are in complete agreement.

For small rural areas without adequate internet services, who would like to install availability or capacity, it should be up to the community, not Corporate lobbyists.

We both know that Internet providers are "cherry-picking" the easiest installations.

By banding together smaller communities who might not ever see internet connections can advance, with the risks involved too.

KCrimson
Premium
join:2001-02-25
Brooklyn, NY
kudos:1

Re: That's what voting GOP gets you

said by Tobester:

said by KCrimson:

I think the courts should allow the community to waste their money as they please. If the current market hasn't seen a fiber startup until now, I'm sure it will either fail horribly............

We are in complete agreement.

For small rural areas without adequate internet services, who would like to install availability or capacity, it should be up to the community, not Corporate lobbyists.

We both know that Internet providers are "cherry-picking" the easiest installations.

By banding together smaller communities who might not ever see internet connections can advance, with the risks involved too.

What you fail to see is that if there were a profit to be made, private corporations would have been competing to provide this service that the community seems to want so badly. Even if profits would take years, we've seen build-outs where initial capital expenditures are projected into many years (see Vz FiOS). Call it "cherry picking", or whatever, the fact remains that smaller communities that band together like this are stepping into an arena that the government was never intended in a market economy, and such experiments rarely if ever see their intended results without extreme cost or redistribution of resources or population.
Tobester

join:2000-11-14
San Francisco, CA
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET

Re: That's what voting GOP gets you

said by KCrimson :

What you fail to see is that if there were a profit to be made, private corporations would have been competing to provide this service that the community seems to want so badly..................

Call it "cherry picking", or whatever, the fact remains that smaller communities that band together like this are stepping into an arena that the government was never intended in a market economy............

Sure they are.

Smaller communities have been doing this exact thing for years, such rural electric cooperatives, water districts and they like.

I understand your feeling government should not be involved in a market economy. However, how long would you have smaller communities wait in order to receive upgraded internet services?

The current "mega-internet" companies might not ever see enough return on investment to want to upgrade rural areas, hence my "cherry picking" comment.

The proposed North Carolina bill will specifically exclude these under-served communities from taking matters into their own hands to increase community internet options.

By a majority community vote, the electorate should be free to make their own decisions, agreeing to tax themselves for the greater good of the local community.

KCrimson
Premium
join:2001-02-25
Brooklyn, NY
kudos:1

Re: That's what voting GOP gets you

You're describing cooperatives, so I'm sure that membership will be voluntary, and not amount to a general tax. This shouldn't be a problem in towns that have REAL problems, and not just a few enthusiasts that want to share the public's wealth for their own surfing.
Tobester

join:2000-11-14
San Francisco, CA
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET

Re: That's what voting GOP gets you

said by KCrimson:

You're describing cooperatives, so I'm sure that membership will be voluntary, and not amount to a general tax. This shouldn't be a problem in towns that have REAL problems, and not just a few enthusiasts that want to share the public's wealth for their own surfing.

Co-operative is your word

Think of Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Palo Alto Municipal Electric Co, City of Mesa, AZ Utilities, Navopache Electric (AZ). All are municipally owned and operated for the benefit of the community and offer cheaper electric rates than surrounding utility. (I'm sure there are other examples of telephone, and water districts I can't recall at the moment too )

I think your main problem is you don't want to pay for anything you do not personally think you benefit from regardless of whether the public has voted for it, or not.

Here in San Francisco, we have twice voted NOT to start the process of forming our own Electric Utility, and it was pushed hard by our elected City Officials.

KCrimson
Premium
join:2001-02-25
Brooklyn, NY
kudos:1

Re: That's what voting GOP gets you

said by Tobester:

Co-operative is your word

Actually, it was you that brought up rural cooperatives, I just pointed to the principles of the idea.
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink
said by KCrimson:

I think the courts should allow the community to waste their money as they please. If the current market hasn't seen a fiber startup until now, I'm sure it will either fail horribly (burdening the entire foolish community for generations), or they will change the playing field for such businesses retroactively. Either way, let the buyer beware (and watch the productive and sensible flee).

The locals in the community ARE free to waste their money, they just aren't allowed to waste the taxpayer's money.

KCrimson
Premium
join:2001-02-25
Brooklyn, NY
kudos:1

Re: That's what voting GOP gets you

said by elray:

said by KCrimson:

I think the courts should allow the community to waste their money as they please. If the current market hasn't seen a fiber startup until now, I'm sure it will either fail horribly (burdening the entire foolish community for generations), or they will change the playing field for such businesses retroactively. Either way, let the buyer beware (and watch the productive and sensible flee).

The locals in the community ARE free to waste their money, they just aren't allowed to waste the taxpayer's money.

A referendum concerning such a capital expenditure by the locals would solve that differentiation. If (as I'm suspecting will occur) the locals approve such a project, there's little the opposition can do. It becomes a public works project like a toll road, a bridge or a dam. It wasn't long ago that there were private toll roads. I'm NOT endorsing this, but I'm not sure there's much that can stop an "inspired" populace from wasting the taxpayer's money.

IMO, the mistake the opposition has made to date is having the existing broadband provider taking on the legal challenge. It should have been coordinated with a local grassroots opposition group instead (similar to the NHL Coyotes bond issue opposition, where the league is foisting a bond issue on the public, and concerned opponents are preventing the issuance by devaluing the bonds).

Bill Neilson
Premium
join:2009-07-08
Arlington, VA

Sounds about right. Corporate interests

fund all levels of government and have language screwing many just so the corporations can make a few more $$$'s

Hazy Arc

join:2006-04-10
Greenwood, SC
Reviews:
·CenturyLink
·Embarq Now Centu..

1 recommendation

Did Anyone Here Actually Read The Bill?

Or are you simply taking Karl's weasel-word filled editorials as the bona-fide truth? I'm guessing the latter.

»www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2011/Bill···29v4.pdf

A quick reading of the bill shows that the limitations placed on city-owned broadband projects are not intended to stymie the projects, but level the playing field with private communications companies.

Xioden
Premium
join:2008-06-10
Monticello, NY
kudos:1

1 recommendation

Re: Did Anyone Here Actually Read The Bill?

You're right, it's not intended to stymie the projects... it's designed to prevent them altogether. All a private company needs to do to stop a municpal project is offer broadband to at least 50% of households. Not actually provide it, just offer it. This means all they have to do is make a package of at least 4Mb/s down, 1Mb/s up and they can prevent any and all municipal startups. Throw a an insane $150-200 a month price on it, and they can keep on providing their crappy 768k/128k internet for $50 a month without any worry of losing their monopoly/duopoly.
Oxygen69
Premium
join:2008-12-08
Madison, WI

Re: Did Anyone Here Actually Read The Bill?

The just sounds plain unconstitutional to me.. It could be considered a violation of Free Speech basically. If that passes they should fight it in federal court on that premise, and on other grounds of Monopolistic behavior. One might even go so far as to imply RICO laws.
Tobester

join:2000-11-14
San Francisco, CA
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET

Re: Did Anyone Here Actually Read The Bill?

said by Oxygen69:

The just sounds plain unconstitutional to me........

I would hope so, since voters should have the final say about forming their own "Internet Improvement District"

Since the US Supreme Court has ruled Corporations are people too, it appears saving the "Rights of Business" will trump the will of the voters.

With the current legal decision, deep-pocked lobbyists will exert even more influence, in Congress and State Government, protecting business interest versus the common man (voter).

CableConvert
Premium
join:2003-12-05
Atlanta, GA

Sad for NC...Good for GA

The Atlanta Region has been worried for years about NC overtaking us as the leading area of the Southeast. I for one want to thank Marylin Avilla (R-Time Warner) for this bill. Now seriously...this is a horrible bill that flies in the face of everything the republican party stands for...less regulation, local control...this bill is bought and paid for by TWC. What gets me is that Avilla reps Wake Co., not exactly a backward rural community. If they dont send her packing next election they are ignorant of what their reps do or just too stupid. Plus that picture of her reminds me of that mean 4th grade teacher I had
jkeelsnc

join:2008-08-22
Greensboro, NC

Re: Sad for NC...Good for GA

Yeah, thats what I don't get either. The republicans love to talk about "small" government and giving local control to citizens and yet they consistently vote on bills and legislation that take that away from the citizens of this country. They are a dishonest, duplicitous bunch. They are not like nazis no but their methods are the same. Say one thing and mean another. Of course the democrats have their faults with this sometimes too.
jophan
Premium
join:2009-07-12
Jenkintown, PA

Just another pork barrel

I think they have a point. If taxpayer funds build the network, access prices will be terrible. Just think of all the pols (and their staff and kids and girlfriends) who need no-show jobs after being thrown out of office. That plus refusal to shut down non-payers if they're in sensitive demographics. Cynical? Me? I'm from PA; we've got toll bridges & roads & utilities just designed for that.

axiomatic

join:2006-08-23
Tomball, TX

So basically...

So basically what we have here is that if Time Warner can't get what they want through sheer force of will they will pay their way in to a new law/bill?

Figures.... where the hell do consumers fit in to this fight? Oh right... they don't.
jkeelsnc

join:2008-08-22
Greensboro, NC

Re: So basically...

They don't fit in because TWC is looking out for itself not its customers. Furthermore, politicians in both parties are corrupt and bought by different kinds of corporations and special interests. Its sick and one reason I wish to change my voter registration from democrat to independent. Tired of this kind of nonsense really.
jkeelsnc

join:2008-08-22
Greensboro, NC

ATT and TWC

Well, I've had enough. And I know TWC doesnt' care so thats why I am cancelling my account. If they are going to push this ahead of customer interests and play hard ball then I'll take my money somewhere else. I already left ATT and will not spend my money with them anymore because of their ridiculous cap scheme recently. If we all cancel our services we can force them to do what we want which is back off and let the consumer... the CITIZEN decide whats right for local broadband. Corporations shouldn't be deciding this stuff for us in the first place.

•••

peter190

@verizon.net

Broadband

Constitution? Since when is broadband access a constitutional right?

justa_pedlr

@verizon.net

Why is this bill being pushed forward ?

Perhaps you don't understand the issue here. It's not about TV stations trying not to upset TWC Cable, it's a much bigger issue. TWC , that has a legitimate regulated CATV franchise agreement in many NC communities, does not want competition from a non-regulated public entity that can subsidize their operations with tax revenues. This is a fine example of public revenue being used to compete with a private enterprise.

TWC has a LEGITIMATE complaint . They reached out to their congressman and got a bill written to protect their business interests. That makes good sense ( for them).

The current Democratic administration in DC , and the FCC, seem to think that business is evil, and all US residents should be "entitled" to get free bandwidth ( for Netflix movie delivery) , or broadband subsidized service . That's an interesting point of view but NOTHING IS FREE !
If TWC cable provides service they charge a fee that is related to their costs. If a NC Community builds a FTTH system to provide broadband service they will have a similar ( or probably higher) cost to deliver that service. It will then either be billed directly to the subscribers, or subsidized with some type of tax revenues.

What do you want to do...decide between TWC, Satellite TV, and other IP Streaming video sources based on your costs and service preference, or Pay Higher Taxes every year that your local politicians can then spread between schools, roads, pet projects, and broadband service per their current whims ?

justa_pedlr

@verizon.net

HB 129 and Individual Choice Options

Many of you recent posters seem to think that TWC CATV is evil and in the pocket of the evil politicians. Consider this...

Option 1 - TWC gets this bill passed to ban NC Communities from building tax subsidized FTTH Broadband systems. Individuals then have the choice to subscribe and pay for TWC services. You can also consider Sat TV and OTT IP Video from other sources if you feel the need to get video in a home instead of on a handheld mobile device or notebook computer with a wireless interface.

Option 2 - No Bill is passed. NC Communities can then build FTTH systems IF they get approval from their community members . But once a systems is built , and it proves to be unable to cover it's construction loans, the NC Community must either shut down service ( with associated costs) or raise tax revenues. I'm sure that will happen without a true disclosure of the costs that are attributed to the broadband system. So , you then have the choice to subscribe to their service. BUT, do you have the choice NOT to Pay Your taxes ?

Why are the evil ones trying to give you the choice not to pay for service that you don't want, when the good guys are trying to make sure that the government can provide "entitled services" without regard to cost efficiency ?

Educated individuals consider both sides of an issue before spouting inflammatory opinions then voting blindly for one side or another on ALL topics.