dslreports logo

story category
Wilson, NC Fights Community Broadband Ban
Carriers try to kill symmetrical FTTH operation...
by Karl Bode 09:24AM Tuesday Apr 21 2009
The city of Wilson, North Carolina launched a $28 million municipal broadband operation named Greenlight last year, offering symmetrical speeds up to 100Mbps -- far surpassing the best local incumbents Embarq and Time Warner Cable have to offer. Embarq and Time Warner Cable did what any carrier in a government-protected duopoly would do: they began a several year campaign to lobby state legislators to not only pass laws that would effectively cripple or ban such operations, but also prohibit this community from getting access to broadband stimulus funds. In response, local city officials have launched a new website and FAQ arguing against the bills. This IndyWeek report on the Wilson network is a must read, and notes the city went first to Time Warner and Embarq to build the network, but they refused.

98 comments .. click to read

Recommended comments

Go Tarheels
Nashville, NC

3 recommendations

reply to Matt3

Re: Bills make good sense - avoid tax cross-subsidization

You have struck a nerve in me - Gov't - especially Wilson - entering the private sector is a problem. You give the lottery as an example as something as good. Well lets look at that. Perdue is tapping into that b/c NC can't pay tax refunds and salaries.

Lets look at another infrastructure example, power. Wilson, along with other towns in NC, including Rocky Mount entered into an electricities coop which is now charging the highest rates in the state. They answer to no one (PUC doesn't have jurisdiction). They do take lavish trips (huge get together in Myrtle Beach, SC when there was plenty of nice facilities in any of the towns they represent)

Furthermore, Embarq and TW covers all of the city of Wilson with HSI. 100% coverage from 2 providers and most of the county (which Wilson has no plans to cover). Embarq and TW have the ability to run 100M Metro E and other services to businesses.

What is the answer for the cities when they need more money? Raise property taxes, annex further out, raise utility rates, add add'l taxes to goods/services. All of that happened last year in Eastern NC.

Oh BTW - that 10/10 service Wilson offers - I have only been able to get 6/1.5 - haha - that is from a business customer who swapped from Embarq 10/1 who got 90+% and paid less for it. I do work on their network.

Tavistock NJ

2 recommendations

These bills don't stop gov't broadband. They merely prevent taxpayer moneys for other services like trash, water & electric from subsidizing broadband costs.

From the city officials complaining about these bills own web site:
The bills would:

* Prohibit cities from moving money between broadband and other divisions. So, Wilson citizens can’t expect to see any of their subscription fees go to pave streets and build basketball courts. Does that make sense?
* Ban cities from pricing service below the cost of providing the service. Cable and phone companies run temporary cheap sign-up specials all the time. I doubt they’re following that rule even now.
In other words, the bills would prevent cities from finding more ways to raise taxes not dedicated to the reason they were created for in the 1st place. If city broadband can't pay its own way, then it shouldn't exist.
My BLOG .. .. Internet News .. .. My Web Page


Maumelle, AR

2 recommendations

It's a shame

I guess Wilson didn't have anything better it could do with $28 million than replicate a service offered by private companies. This is a totally irresponsible use of tax dollars.



2 recommendations

When you don't have to be responsible...

When you don't have to be responsible for the money you spend you can do things like this.

"Ban cities from pricing service below the cost of providing the service."

Oh you mean like run the network like a real business and not a government agency? If they would only apply this law to everything government does.