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North Carolina's Broadband Buffoonery Gains Attention
Unfortunately Only After Time Warner Cable Bill Passes
by Karl Bode 09:05AM Thursday May 12 2011
For years we've covered how multiple states have passed legislation blocking towns and cities from wiring themselves with broadband, even in cases where nobody else would. Such bills became less popular over the years as the public and broader press became away of what was going on, though that awareness came after nearly a dozen states passed laws either banning or constricting community broadband rights.

However, North Carolina has brought attention back to the issue of late, as Time Warner Cable -- after three consecutive previous failed attempts -- has largely succeeded (it simply waits the Governor's signature) in getting a law they wrote passed in North Carolina that would limit a community's own rights on delivering broadband to residents. This comes as the nation's second-largest cable operator sluggishly deploys DOCSIS 3.0 network upgrades due to limited competition in most markets.

Such bills are supported by incumbent cable companies that have failed to meet demand, easily-purchased politicians, and armchair partisans a thousand miles away who see infrastructure improvements as socialist bogeymen. However, such laws aren't about "level playing fields" or concern for the welfare of communities as supporters suggest -- they're about using regulation as a weapon to protect the revenues of large companies that have failed to deliver. The bills are, as is usually the case, about money -- but they're also about trampling local rights.

The effort is particularly ridiculous in North Carolina, where incumbents CenturyLink and Time Warner Cable have responded to reports of inadequate broadband in the state by not only writing this law constricting a community's right to do anything about it -- but by attaching an amendment lowering the definition of broadband -- in order to make their deployment shortcomings magically disappear. The moves have drawn the attention of FCC Commissioners (those who aren't leaving for jobs at Comcast, anyway) like Mignon Clyburn, who recently criticized North Carolina, and Commissioner Copps -- who this week gave a speech also criticizing what's going on in North Carolina:
quote:
When incumbent providers cannot serve the broadband needs of some localities, local governments should be allowed–no, encouraged–to step up to the plate and ensure that their citizens are not left on the wrong side of the great divide. So it is regrettable that some states are considering, and even passing, legislation that could hinder local solutions to bring the benefits of broadband to their communities. It’s exactly the wrong way to go. In this context, too, our previous infrastructure challenges must be the guide.

The successful history of rural electrification, as one example, is due in no small part to municipal electric cooperatives that lit up corners of this country where investor-owned utilities had little incentive to go. Those coops turned on the lights for a lot of people! You know, our country would be a lot better off if we would learn from our past rather than try to defy or deny it.
Copps is a little late to the party, given the bill simply awaits the Governor's signature -- passed despite immense opposition from consumers and the communities impacted. Meanwhile, one of the biggest local supporters of the state bill, Andy Stevens, is under fire for failing to disclose he works for Time Warner Cable. While it's obviously not a problem for an incumbent employee to have an opinion, Stevens had been an immensely vocal critic of networks like the community owned MI Connection -- while pretending to be an objective observer. Time Warner Cable may not have appreciated his efforts, as his blog was purged of content shortly after his employment was disclosed.

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FFH5
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Tavistock NJ
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2 edits

1 recommendation

Broadband bill was passed; awaits Governor's signature

This bill has already been passed by both House & Senate in NC and is awaiting the Governor's signature. The bill given to her on May 10.

»www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/B···utton=Go

Here is a news item discussing whether the Governor will sign this bill or not.
»davidsonnews.net/2011/05/12/will···ld-bill/

If she doesn't sign or veto the bill by May 20, it automatically becomes law.

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Sammer

join:2005-12-22
Canonsburg, PA

Re: Broadband bill was passed; awaits Governor's signature

The Governor should consider the message sent to the rest of the world that North Carolina does not care about broadband if she allows the bill to become law. That would definitely be an anti-business message.

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: Broadband bill was passed; awaits Governor's signature

said by Sammer:

The Governor should consider the message sent to the rest of the world that North Carolina does not care about broadband if she allows the bill to become law. That would definitely be an anti-business message.

My guess is that, as a politician, she will neither sign nor veto it but let the bill become law without her commenting on it. If she vetoed it, she runs the chance of annoying the legislature where both houses bi-partisanly passed it by large margins. If she signs it, she gets all the bad press about being a cable company lackey. Ignore it altogether and at most she just has to say she is honoring the will of the voters thru their elected representatives.
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footballdude
Premium
join:2002-08-13
Imperial, MO

Re: Broadband bill was passed; awaits Governor's signature

said by FFH5:

My guess is that, as a politician, she will neither sign nor veto it but let the bill become law without her commenting on it.

In Missouri, if the Governor doesn't sign a bill within a specified time period, it is returned to the legislature. They refer to this as a 'passive veto'. I don't know the law in North Carolina, though.
Sammer

join:2005-12-22
Canonsburg, PA
said by FFH5:

My guess is that, as a politician, she will neither sign nor veto it but let the bill become law without her commenting on it.

If she's just a politician that's exactly what she'll do but it's not what a true leader would do. Favoring a handful of corporations at the expense of everyone else doing business in your state does have negative consequences.

scots
Are we there yet??
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Fuquay Varina, NC
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Re: Broadband bill was passed; awaits Governor's signature

said by Sammer:

If she's just a politician that's exactly what she'll do but it's not what a true leader would do.

Our Governor is not a true leader. She's a useless sack of crap, and one of the worst Governors in the history of NC. I'm sure she'll just ignore it and allow it to become law without her signature.

FFH5
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Tavistock NJ
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Re: Broadband bill was passed; awaits Governor's signature

said by scots:

Our Governor is not a true leader. She's a useless sack of crap, and one of the worst Governors in the history of NC. I'm sure she'll just ignore it and allow it to become law without her signature.

Is she any relation to the Perdue chicken family? Her ex/dead husband Gary Perdue?
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NormanS
I gave her time to steal my mind away
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said by FFH5:

If she doesn't sign or veto the bill by May 20, it automatically becomes law.

Seems to be a propitious date. This law will be moot, as the next day it is all over anyway!

(If you believe that sort of nonsense!)
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Norman
~Oh Lord, why have you come
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tmc8080

join:2004-04-24
Brooklyn, NY
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Now you KNOW WHO TO VOTE OUT OF OFFICE!!
I dont' care if it's democrat or republican, these people who passed an anti competition bill for the likes of Time Warner need to have themselves REMOVED FROM OFFICE! Shake the corrupt tree and see what scum falls out!

I'll be posting late October & Early November to remind you people who fall asleep in the meantime!
genzoulv

join:2004-10-05
Las Vegas, NV

Re: Broadband bill was passed; awaits Governor's signature

Doesn't really matter though. Next scum who gets voted in will get paid off by whatever corp and do the same thing.
Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
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Was Andy Stevens Con Man?

During WW II people like Andy Stevens were considered a collaborator because they were shills paid for by the enemy, in this case the enemy of citizens rights, paid for by Time Warner.

Our government is rotting from the inside out at all levels because the rich and corporate fascists have developed ways to manipulate our government officials and in this case putting a con man in office to deceive other government officials. Because Andy Stevens failed to disclose his relationship with Time Warner the bill should be rescinded and Andy Stevens impeached.

nukscull

@rr.com

Re: Was Andy Stevens Con Man?

said by Mr Matt:

Our government is rotting from the inside out at all levels because the rich and corporate fascists have developed ways to manipulate our government officials and in this case putting a con man in office to deceive other government officials. Because Andy Stevens failed to disclose his relationship with Time Warner the bill should be rescinded and Andy Stevens impeached.

But people want the same basic government to put together a broadband network and make that work?

So which is it, is the government competent enough to build a broadband network cheap enough for the people, or is it full of incompetent, corrupt people that want nothing for the citizens?

Can't be both ways.

And yes, I know it's city/county governments that want to build these community broadband networks. But you do know that these officials are the ones that end up being state reps and senators, right? You do realize that they may have some financial incentive to want broadband built in their community, right?

It reminds me of something I've heard about Cary, NC. A mayor wanted a WISP put together to cover Cary, with AP's mainly being on water towers. Turns out he had a financial interest in those water towers or the property they were on.

NormanS
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Re: Was Andy Stevens Con Man?

said by nukscull :

But people want the same basic government to put together a broadband network and make that work?

So which is it, is the government competent enough to build a broadband network cheap enough for the people, or is it full of incompetent, corrupt people that want nothing for the citizens?

Can't be both ways.

And yes, I know it's city/county governments that want to build these community broadband networks. But you do know that these officials are the ones that end up being state reps and senators, right?

Not necessarily. I can name a score, or more, of local pols who never aspired to state office. As they say, "All politics is local".
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Norman
~Oh Lord, why have you come
~To Konnyu, with the Lion and the Drum
sonicmerlin

join:2009-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:1
said by nukscull :

But people want the same basic government to put together a broadband network and make that work?

So which is it, is the government competent enough to build a broadband network cheap enough for the people, or is it full of incompetent, corrupt people that want nothing for the citizens?

Can't be both ways.

Uh... it's not the politicians building out the networks. The money is given to people with expertise in the field. Politicians simply decide where the money is allocated.
Expand your moderator at work
gorehound

join:2009-06-19
Portland, ME
when the real revolution occurs these people will be shot or tarred & featherd

gaforces
United We Stand, Divided We Fall

join:2002-04-07
Santa Cruz, CA

Looks bad for broadband in the US

High prices for poor connection is what we will continue to bear and end up even worse in the world markets we are supposed to be competing with. Countrys with less corruption seem to be doing better than us ...
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