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North Carolina's Anti-Community-Fiber Bill Returns
Time Warner Cable found a new lawmaker...
by Karl Bode 09:25AM Friday Apr 16 2010
Incumbent phone and cable companies have spent years successfully lobbying state lawmakers to pass laws banning towns and cities from wiring themselves -- even in cases where incumbents wouldn't. The laws, usually written by incumbent lawyers, were passed in more than a dozen states without much public debate -- though momentum slowed in recent years due to media attention and consumer advocacy opposition.

But recently these bills started popping up again in North Carolina, due to a number of fiber to the home municipal developments that have been taking off in the state. Wilson, North Carolina launched a $28 million municipal broadband operation named Greenlight last year, offering symmetrical speeds up to 100Mbps. Other cities like Salisbury began exploring the option too.

That of course riled up local incumbents Time Warner Cable and AT&T, given fiber to the home would provide faster service than either carrier is willing to provide in the region. Fortunately for locals, Time Warner Cable's bungled attempt to force high broadband overages on customers last year directed extra attention Time Warner Cable's way -- and several efforts to derail fiber projects in Salisbury and Wilson were met by some angry and informed grass roots consumer opposition.

Time Warner Cable also wasn't helped by the fact that the chief proponent of their latest bill, Rep. Ty Harrell (D-Raleigh), ultimately resigned after an ethics investigation into his campaign finances -- and Time Warner Cable's bill was defeated. However, it appears the effort has once again returned according to locals, and Time Warner Cable has found themselves a new politician eager to tell communities they cannot deploy fiber in their own backyards because it would make Time Warner Cable unhappy:
quote:
This year’s push for anti-consumer legislation comes courtesy of Senator Daniel G. Clodfelter (D-Mecklenburg County). He reportedly wants a moratorium on all municipal broadband deployments on the alleged basis that these are bad for the private sector and will harm state tax revenue. Hello? Virtually every municipal broadband project underway fuels job creation as crews work to install the fiber optic networks that will come to represent an economic catalyst and job creator. When communities no longer have to turn away digital economy jobs lost because of inadequate broadband by existing providers, that’s an economic victory for hard-pressed North Carolina, where unemployment is at 11.2 percent these days — 10th worst in the country.
Again, people are free to argue the merits of whether a community should get into the broadband business all they'd like -- but if the locals decide they'd like to go that route because incumbents are not providing adequate service -- that should be the local citizen's choice -- not yours, and not Time Warner Cable's. If these markets had more competition (something companies like Time Warner Cable fight tooth and nail against at every turn), these communities wouldn't be in this position to begin with.

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DrModem
Trust Your Doctor
Premium
join:2006-10-19
USA
kudos:1

When Laws Like This Pass

It proves who really controls this country, and it's not us.
nasadude

join:2001-10-05
Rockville, MD

Re: When Laws Like This Pass

it hasn't been us for a couple of decades.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: When Laws Like This Pass

said by nasadude:

it hasn't been us for a couple of decades.
try a couple of centuries.

PapaMidnight

join:2009-01-13
Baltimore, MD

Re: When Laws Like This Pass

Right on the nose with that one.

alchav

join:2002-05-17
Saint George, UT
Reviews:
·ooma
It's from people that don't know what they are talking about! It's like everyone here on DSL Reports thinks, if a City or Community runs their own FTTH they knock out competition and become their own Utility. This is far from the truth, but running your own Network only a handful of people really know how to do this. If you don't know how to do this you out source it. You don't knock out competition, you work with the Providers and bring in T3, and manage the Network.

skuv

@rr.com

Re: When Laws Like This Pass

"Bring in T3?"

Really? You're going to build a FTTH network, but you're going to bring in a T3?

You definitely won't knock out any competition with that.
gorehound

join:2009-06-19
Portland, ME
yes we have been getting the shaft for years now.i am sick and tired of theis bs.
i wish i could dump slime warner and would in a second if there was competition in portland, maine.
right maine the land of fairpoint 1!!

ArrayList
netbus developer
Premium
join:2005-03-19
Evanston, IL

what arguments

what arguments are the pro-antifiber pushers using to push the bill? what possible good can come out of prohibiting competition?
--
sbcglobal.net speedtest result 11/11/09 - 5256kbps
brianw1957

join:2006-01-24
West Jordan, UT

Re: what arguments

What you said, they keep their monopoly and the exclusive rates with out competition. Sad, same thing is going on here in the Salt Lake area, Qwest, Comcast all trying to stop UTOPIA. Qwest won't expand, and I hate Comcast and their rates...

Tron4Net

join:2010-01-14
Corrales, NM

Re: what arguments

I feel for you, I have Qwest and they are taking their sweet time to provide 7Mbps in my area. Comcast is too expensive and to be honest, their also slime bags!!! I wish I had another broadband option. I hope you Utopia wins and expands to your southern neighbor!

pleekmo
Triptoe Through The Tulips
Premium
join:2001-09-14
Manchester, CT
said by ArrayList:

[W]hat possible good can come out of prohibiting competition?
Prohibition of competition allows incumbent broadband providers to maintain service rates as high as possible, allowing for the highest possible profit. This encourages investors to keep investing in the company and allows company executives to maintain their high standard of living.
--
HCN: Because you deserve a rest!

Omelas: How MUCH do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few... or the one?
bostonkarl1

join:2003-07-09
Arlington, VA
You'll hear a bunch of breathy ZOMG the government is evil paranoia propaganda. ZOMG, ZOMG, ZOMG. If the local government builds it, it MUST be bad. ZOMG.

If a local community wants to establish a local utility, it should be a local decision. The utility may fail or succeed. But, the decision should be local.

SLD
Premium
join:2002-04-17
San Francisco, CA

Re: what arguments

Ha! The same people who argue that gov't shouldn't get involved are trying to get the gov't involved by passing this bill.

Thespis
I'm not an actor, but I play one on TV.
Premium
join:2004-08-03
Keller, TX

Re: what arguments

said by SLD:

Ha! The same people who argue that gov't shouldn't get involved are trying to get the gov't involved by passing this bill.
Really? I thought those people were R's...

"Time Warner Cable also wasn't helped by the fact that the chief proponent of their latest bill, Rep. Ty Harrell (D-Raleigh), ultimately resigned after an ethics investigation into his campaign finances...

This year’s push for anti-consumer legislation comes courtesy of Senator Daniel G. Clodfelter (D-Mecklenburg County). He reportedly wants a moratorium on all municipal broadband deployments on the alleged basis that these are bad for the private sector and will harm state tax revenue."
--
Fast. Cheap. Safe.
Pick two...
AlfredNewman

join:2010-03-25
Columbus, OH
said by ArrayList:

what arguments are the pro-antifiber pushers using to push the bill? what possible good can come out of prohibiting competition?
More money for the incumbents. Hell TWC/AT&T raised their prices not too long back and when asked they said "because we can" and its all because of lack of competition. Monopolies/Duopolies do what they want because they can. They let their network sit and never upgrade it because they can. They over-charge and limit caps because they can. And who lets them get away with it? We do. Not because we want to but because we are forced to subscribe to shotty service and we dont do anything about it. Weve gotten lazy, we dont write letters to our representatives, we dont fight back. What better place to start than with your home town.
cramer
Premium
join:2007-04-10
Raleigh, NC
kudos:8

Re: what arguments

I wouldn't say we're letting them get away with it. We have no choice. There are very few ways to get high speed connectivity... the phone line (AT&T DSL), or cable (TWC). "Directway" is a very bad joke. Wimax (Clearwire) is spotty, expensive, and slow. And cellular data plans are extremely expensive and heavily restricted -- if you think Comcast's 250G is low, look at the fine print with AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint.

I remember the days of dialup. There was significant competition. Anyone could be an ISP; nobody was standing in the way. We had good customer service and lowering prices.

Today however, we have effectively no competition. There's an unspoken collusion amongst the ever dwindling number of providers. Customer service is simply gone -- outsourced to people who are more interested in getting paid than fixing your problems. Prices constantly go up. And service continues to circle the bowl. DSL is at the end of it's rope; and many people are finding themselves just beyond the end of that rope (no Uverse for them.) Most cable operators are continuing to pocket all of their ever increasing profits instead of upgrading their decade old technology. The "speed increase" trick of changing a number in a DOCSIS config file doesn't work anymore -- 30/10 is as high as you can set it, 'tho it's unlikely to be usuable at 10/1.

(even on a "Business class" cablemodem, 1M up is not sustainable in a residential neighborhood. At 3am I might be able to push 900k, but when people are awake... no way.)

battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000
what arguments are the pro-fiber pushers using to fight the bill?
AlfredNewman

join:2010-03-25
Columbus, OH

2 edits

Re: what arguments

said by battleop:

what arguments are the pro-fiber pushers using to fight the bill?
You could probably just refer to this site -- »www.ftthcouncil.org/en

But there have also been multiple articles on this site alone talking about the pros over the cons and if I remember correctly there is even a guy who goes around speaking to councils around the nation talking about the pros of building their own FTTH network. Can't remember for the life of me what it was called but it was a few months back

Koil
Premium
join:2002-09-10
Irmo, SC
kudos:2

ATT and TWC don't even compete w/ each other

Here in Columbia, SC, TWC and AT&T don't even really compete. Its like they're happy to co-exist here and take what falls to them.

ATT fiber option starts at like 3Mb for about $40, or something (which is crap) and moves up to right about what I currently pay for 8mb @ 60-ish a month. The FASTEST I believe you can get here is 16Mb. What a freaking joke.

Cable (TV) is equally comparible price wise....while the HW might give a slight advanatage ATT, it sure as hell isn't worth swapping services over.

I pray to God someone implements something to break this crap up, its horrible.
--
DSLR Mafia
My Blog - Raising Connor
WoW: Mal'Ganis : Aftershock : Krimdal

RWild
Them Or Us
Premium
join:2003-09-15
Cary, NC

Re: ATT and TWC don't even compete w/ each other

It's the same situation here in Cary, NC. AT&T U-Verse is not available to me and the fastest DSL I can get at my location is 1.5 Mbps. Bundled with local and long distance land line service, DSL is $32.95. My Roadrunner is supposed to be 7 Mbps but may test out anywhere between 5 and 12. It costs $54.95

I am amazed considering the kind of place this is that better service isn't available - either from TPTB or the town. Lots of university professors and researchers for Research Triangle Park live here and SAS world headquarters are here. The town routinely runs a budget surplus and sits on a "reserve" fund that ranges from $30-$60 million. It's not like there aren't customers or that the town can't afford the investment.
CopperFiber

join:2009-12-08

1 edit

Re: ATT and TWC don't even compete w/ each other

Oh yeah don't forget the little small 430 upstream get from these companies ! AT&T AND TWC ! IN NC

RWild
Them Or Us
Premium
join:2003-09-15
Cary, NC

Re: ATT and TWC don't even compete w/ each other

My upstream is only about 360 Kbps on Roadrunner and about 240 Kbps on AT&T. Truly lame.
ke4pym
Premium
join:2004-07-24
Charlotte, NC

Finally

One I can (not) vote for.

I'll be writing this guy shortly and explaining my displeasure for this bill.

Even though I have little chance to ever see fiber to my home in this city.
deadzoned
Premium
join:2005-04-13
Cypress, TX

Lafayette, Louisiana

One only has to look at Lafayette, Louisiana to see the benefits that can be had from a municipal FTTH offering done in the right way.

When you look at true competition in the marketplace for broadband services like they have you begin to realize that it is a great thing and that ultimately, the consumer does benefit.
firedrakes

join:2009-01-29
Arcadia, FL
Reviews:
·Embarq Now Centu..

yeap

yeah same thing happen here. comcast had us in their pockets till a hurricane hit and guess what. they did not have any back up box installed ever. this was the ems and they never came back. so we took control of their stuff and now have are own city isp

NC

@rr.com

here you go...

Write all the members of the committee, we need better in NC. Time Warner has the audacity to wine and dine and get what they want while raising our prices:

Paul.Luebke@ncleg.net; Daniel.Clodfelter@ncleg.net; Harold.Brubaker@ncleg.net; Becky.Carney@ncleg.net; Pryor.Gibson@ncleg.net; Dewey.Hill@ncleg.net; Julia.Howard@ncleg.net; Danny.McComas@ncleg.net; William.McGee@ncleg.net; William.Wainwright@ncleg.net; Jennifer.Weiss@ncleg.net; Dan.Blue@ncleg.net; Peter.Brunstetter@ncleg.net; Fletcher.Hartsell@ncleg.net; David....Hoyle@ncleg.net; Clark.Jenkins@ncleg.net; Josh.Stein@ncleg.net; Jerry.Tillman@ncleg.net;
jkeelsnc

join:2008-08-22
Greensboro, NC

AT&T, Slime Warner, Etc.

Dear Telecommunications Companies,

I am a resident of Greensboro and I pay a monthly Bill to AT&T for internet service. I realize that this article focuses mostly on Slime Warner who I refuse to do business with. Currently, I do not even have cable because I will not do business with a company that charges too much and refuses to expand service to new areas. Governments should be able to do this on their own if they want to.

In 2009, the general assembly was petitioned by the incumbents to prevent local governments in NC from building their own networks. At the time, I was in Boone, NC in college. I wrote my local state representative and made sure my voice was heard. It obviously worked because the bill was shelved and my local state representative was in contact with me personally which was impressive at the time.

However, due to continued pressure from incumbents I must write my local state representative again and louder this time. Furthermore, I am now going to seek ways to cancel my AT&T internet service. I have already reduced my internet service to the slowest speed in protest due to AT&T and other incumbents' slow, expensive service. It is time that I sew my purse shut and cancel my service. I vote with my local representative and more importantly with my wallet. The strings are now tied off. When I said before that I wrote a representative and cut back my service to the minimum it meant that I really did that last year and that I am very serious now. I will reconsider service from the incumbents when the service is faster and reasonably priced for the service provided. I also will not reconsider service until AT&T, Slime Warner, etc. stop petitioning state and federal government to prevent local governments from building their own networks. Only then will I continue to forward my very hard earned money in a tight economy to a company that has a grin from ear to ear while they plot new ways to separate cash from consumers pockets.

Thank you for everyone's listening. I can only hope the incumbents read this forum.

Sincerely,

John P. Keels
mworks

join:2006-06-13
Faison, NC

1 edit

They had their chance

The telecom companies went to congress in the 1990's touting how great broadband would be. How they could bring not only internet but tv to every home in the nation, but there was a catch. Their profits were controlled based on rate of return. So lobbyist in hand they ran ads , pushed congress and lied to the taxpayers that if only we would lift profit control they could use that money to build out fiber. We did our part and removed it so they could get huge profits on services, they never did their part and only one state New Jersey has gone back to them and made them fulfill their agreement. Over $200 billion they stole from taxpayers . Sorry you had your chance telecom , now let those who want to do what you promised to do.

You can read the whole sorted mess and what was promised and how they got to where they are in this pdf:
»www.teletruth.org/docs/broadband···free.pdf

Duramax08
To The Moon
Premium
join:2008-08-03
San Antonio, TX

Those

POS SOB's.

/rant