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Time Warner Cable Muni-Fiber Killing Bill Moves Forward
All Progress Made On Making NC Bill More Reasonable Stripped
by Karl Bode 07:51AM Thursday Mar 24 2011
For the fourth time in four years, Time Warner Cable is pushing for a bill in North Carolina that would bury community fiber projects in bureaucratic red tape -- the goal being to stop successful fiber to the home projects deployed in Salisbury and Wilson, both of which offer a superior product to Time Warner Cable's own. While originally the bill's supporters appeared flexible to things like excluding existing fiber builds from the law -- or excluding areas that couldn't get 4 Mbps speeds -- Time Warner Cable and friends have managed to get all of those exceptions dropped, and the bill has passed the North Carolina legislature's Finance Committee.
quote:
During debate of H.129, the anti-Community Broadband bill, North Carolina consumer interests were kept out of sight and mind as lobbyists worked their magic to get rid of Rep Bill Faison’s (D-Caswell, Orange) amendment that would set the state’s minimum acceptable definition of broadband at 4Mbps with a 1Mbps upload speed. With the help of several flip-flopping representatives, they got their wish. Faison’s amendment was designed to open the door to someone — anyone – to bring broadband into rural areas of the state. While Time Warner Cable, AT&T, and CenturyLink dawdle, large numbers of rural residents simply go without any broadband service.
Regional politicians meanwhile are breathlessly defending criticism that they've been paid to pass the bill by incumbent ISPs, despite the fact they're precisely parroting company talking points. None of them can really answer why community rights should be stripped when they move to overcome market failure -- deploying upgraded infrastructure nobody else will due to a lack of serious competition. The bill now goes to the House floor, where locals involved in the fight tell us Time Warner Cable has the votes. The NC Senate will start driving their companion bill (S87) immediately, and it appears they also have the votes.


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Dampier
Phillip M Dampier

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Rochester, NY

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reply to FFH5

Re: Read the bill - not so bad

said by FFH5:

said by Skippy25:

Correct me if I am wrong but if I am a tax payer of that state then I can vote to do whatever it is I want with that money.

Correct me if I am wrong, but the voters in NC already voted and their elected legislators look like they are going to pass this bill. If the voters don't like the results, they get to vote out these legislators in the next election.

Ask North Carolina voters if they elected their representatives to carry water for Time Warner Cable and CenturyLink and effectively ban competition for them, and erode the few providers that do into bankruptcy.

Conveniently, Avila's bill lets these same companies buy up the community-owned networks for pennies on the dollar. That's the best deal in town -- for them.
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Phillip M. Dampier
Editor, Stop the Cap!
»stopthecap.com

Dampier
Phillip M Dampier

join:2003-03-23
Rochester, NY

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reply to hottboiinnc
You can toot your horn as much as you like, but making things up doesn't help your case.

The FCC classification of broadband as an "information service" was a joke when Son of Colin suggested it, is a federal issue not germane here, and was rendered effectively void in the DC Appeals case with Comcast.

We're also not talking about cable TV here -- you are, but nobody else. The rest:

Unincorporated areas of North Carolina not subject to local zoning is a state matter.

Every provider can charge whatever they want -- all but broadcast basic is deregulated.

No city can keep a provider in North Carolina in or out. It's a state issue.

Show me an example of any city pillaging telecom providers' money.

Once again, your attitude is all about you, you, you. You have service, so the problem is solved as far as you're concerned. Nobody is asking anyone for free 100Mbps broadband. The networks delivering it charge a fee for it. Those networks are publicly-owned and the only ones in the state providing that service to residential homes.

If private companies will provide service, where is it? There are large sections of western NC with NO broadband.

You are also completely wrong about these networks using tax money. They are established as separate entities and financed using bond money obtained from the private bond market with a hold taxpayers harmless clause built right in.

I have read H.129 at least a dozen times and analyzed it section by section on Stop the Cap! Your claims just don't hold water.
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Phillip M. Dampier
Editor, Stop the Cap!
»stopthecap.com


jslik
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reply to hottboiinnc
said by hottboiinnc:

CableTV and Internet are NOT a telecom product. CableTV is just that CableTV. Internet is an Information Service. That is what they are classified as. And will NEVER be regulated anyway. So that is a moot topic.

No, it's not. The point was the state has already stripped the cities of what regulatory control they had over cable TV; TWC certainly is not going to deploy a HSI-only network. They're going to run HSI over a cable TV network, so de-regulating cable TV SHOULD HAVE already given TWC what they wanted as far as the "barriers to entry" canard.
said by hottboiinnc:

That is a proven fact among how things get done.

By whom?
said by hottboiinnc:

And private companies WILL provide service. You and others are pissy due to the fact they will NOT provide service to you for dirt cheap like you want. Why should anyone else have to foot the bill for you to have it off their own money?? You don't pay for me to have access to the services I get so why Should I or anyone else pay for you?....The bill only PREVENTS them from using THEIR OWN tax money and requires the cities to create a public-private partnership.

Private companies are not going to automatically provide service even if you are willing to pay. You know that. Why would they, if they don't want to, for whatever reason? Who is asking you in Ohio to pay for a local broadband effort in North Carolina?

Ask yourself the following:
If the local taxpayers want to use THEIR money for such an effort, why is any of your business?

If muni networks are such a bad idea, then why ban it? Shouldn't the problem take care of itself via the marketplace?
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Harddrive
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reply to hottboiinnc

Re: At what point...

you really are the stupidest freakin' shill i've ever known. it doesn't take a genius to figure out TWC, AT&T et al are doing this for their own profitability. they could give a shit about the tax payer.
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Dampier
Phillip M Dampier

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Rochester, NY

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reply to FFH5

Re: Read the bill - not so bad

said by FFH5:

said by egilbe:

If a municipality wants to compete with services with a cable company, I think it's in the spirit of open market capitalism for the municipality, as an entity, to be able to compete with a corporation. If you think of the city as a corporation, shouldn't they be allowed to compete in an open market?

But a city is not just a competitor. They are also a regulator thru their ability to pass ordinances controlling cable & telco distribution systems, using zoning, fees, etc. As soon as a municipality gets in to business, they can legislate disadvantages to their private competitors. The law is designed to prevent that abuse by city officials protecting their public enterprise.

Actually, that is false. Telecom services in North Carolina are almost entirely deregulated, and what little authority is left is controlled by the state, not municipalities. AT&T saw to that several years ago with their statewide franchising reform bill.

Also, control of zoning is a complete non-issue because existing providers use existing rights-of-way for pole attachment and line burial. There is no example of a single municipality unfairly blocking an existing provider from building its network out. In fact, the entire reason these community-owned providers have launched is to deliver the service private companies won't.

H.129 was literally written by cable lobbyists and introduced by Ms. Avila. Anyone watching the video from the hearings will learn soon enough she does not have the first clue about this issue -- she just reads the talking points the lobbyists hand her.

The other "myth" is there is a free pass for public-private partnerships in this bill. The only companies that would be those "partners" are the same ones who have stonewalled the state for a decade. In fact, we tried to get an amendment in the bill encouraging partnerships with ISPs of all kinds (there are some small WISPs, for example). Avila said no.

The devil is in the details, and in the impact this bill would have. By exempting Time Warner, et al., H.129 would only micromanage community-owned networks on everything from how they market themselves to where they can provide service. My favorite part is where the bill allows community providers to sell out their fiber systems to big cable and phone companies for pennies on the dollar -- a nice acquisition that can come without the public vote Avila requires for EVERYTHING else.

It's a sham bill that does NOTHING to bring a single new broadband connection to a resident in the state.
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Phillip M. Dampier
Editor, Stop the Cap!
»stopthecap.com


Matt3
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Letter I Sent to My Rep

I sent this a week or more ago and of course, have not received a response.

quote:
Mr. Faircloth,

I am a young technology professional who has lived in Guilford County since age 3. I am concerned about the impact of House Bill 129[1] on the citizens, businesses, and educational institutions in our area.

In vast swaths of the state, we have access to very slow, yet very expensive, internet broadband service. If you look at where our state ranks based upon the actual "speed" delivered to citizens, we're ranked 34th in the nation.[2] If you choose a much better metric, "value" (price per Mbps of speed delivered), we are ranked 29th -- with the average citizen paying $6.63 per Mbps of speed delivered.[3] In Guilford County the situation is even worse, as we pay on average $7.58 per Mbps delivered. That shifts the citizens of Guilford County to 40th place in the nation based upon price per Mbps.

Banning local municipalities from delivering service in areas that are underserved, as we are in Guilford County, is a disservice to the citizens of our state and goes against the spirit that our country was founded upon; that is the right of local government to step in and provide a needed service that its citizens want.

If you look at other cable operators around the country or in non-AT&T areas served by Verizon, they have been rolling out next generation high speed internet connectivity for years now. Even comparatively tiny North State Communications offers next generation broadband, as I have access to fiber optic service, at symmetrical speeds, for an extremely reasonable $2.74 per Mbps of speed delivered. From North State Communications, I can purchase a 20Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload internet connection for what I would pay for a 7Mbps download and 384Kbps (that's .384 Mbps) upload connection from Time Warner.

I am vehemently against government regulation of private business in all but the most egregious situations, but banning citizens of a municipality from exercising their Constitutional right to vote to improve their lives is appalling.

I hope the serious nature of this matter is impressed upon you and you take action to prevent North Carolina's future from becoming beholden to AT&T and Time Warner.

Thank for for your time.

Respectfully,

(Address Removed)

1. »www.ncga.state.nc.us/Sessions/20···29v1.pdf
2. »www.netindex.com/download/2,1/United-States/
3. »www.netindex.com/value/2,1/United-States/