We've discussed in great detail
how for four consecutive years North Carolina incumbents Time Warner Cable, AT&T, and CenturyLink have been trying to pass laws that either outright ban, or constrain the ability of individual communities to deploy fiber to local residents and businesses. These bills were very popular a few years ago, with a dozen states passing such laws.
These bills have grown less popular as people became aware of them, and started to ask basic questions, like: "why should a huge corporation dictate what my town or city does with its own infrastructure?" Or: "Why should a random partisan bloviator 2,000 miles away dictate what my town or city does with its own infrastructure?" The fact is that these communities wouldn't be putting this time and effort into infrastructure improvements if local monopolies and duopolies were meeting their needs.
Spearheaded by the towns of Salisbury and Wilson, these fiber efforts in North Carolina have been a very pronounced, community-driven response to limited competition and market failure. As a result, those cities now offer locals fiber to the home connections that vastly outperform anything provided by incumbents like Time Warner Cable. Local TV/Internet and voice bundles are now offered not only at speeds that outperform local incumbents, but at a reasonable price point as well.
Time Warner Cable, who in most markets has the luxury of lagging on network upgrades
due to limited competition, isn't sure what to do with this "problem." Like most large corporations unused to competition, they've gone the protectionist route and have spent millions lobbying North Carolina lawmakers like Rep. Marilyn Avila. As a result, well-lobbied North Carolina politicians do what well-lobbied politicians always do, and last night passed Time Warner Cable's anti-community fiber bill
with a vote of 81-37.
While existing FTTH networks are partially exempted by this bill, they're still facing a number of new bureaucratic hurdles Time Warner Cable-lobbied politicians insist are about "leveling the playing field" (usually code for: regulating the other guy
to death). As such they're going to find their growth potential capped, which communities argue will be the kiss of death for these projects. Several towns have passed resolutions opposing the bill
but are finding their concerns unheard as the well-lobbied bill now roars toward the Senate.