Stop NC HB 1587: Prevent Big Telecom from killing Muni WiFi

As I write this NC HB 1587 is before the Utilities Committee for consideration. Big Telecommunications companies want to prevent democratically elected bodies from bringing broadband Internet access to everyone.

Please ask your NC state Rep to vote No or ask their colleague to vote No!

Here is a Microsoft Excel document with a list of the Utilities Committee members. They are from the following counties: Randolph, Rowan, Rockingham, Nash, Hallifax, Mecklenburg, Onslow, Guilford, Iredell, Surrey, Yadkin, Davie, Iredell, Cumberland, New Hanover, and Pender Counties.

Here is what the NC League of Municipalities had to say about this bad bill:

Telecom companies want to restrict local government authority to provide communications services to citizens

Last session, the telecommunications companies pushed for and won statewide franchising of video services, claiming that the local franchising process hampered competition. That state franchising legislation imposed very little regulation and did not require companies to serve an entire community.

Now, the telecom companies are pushing HB 1587 ­ Local Government Fair Competition Act, which would place significant roadblocks and restrictions on any local government that wants to provide communications services ­ including cable, telephone, electronic voice, data, audio or video transmission and Internet access ­ to its citizens.

Access to high-speed broadband service is critical for the future economic development of our state as we attempt to replace our lost textile, tobacco, and furniture jobs. HB 1587 will effectively prevent local governments from bringing high-speed broadband to North Carolina communities, especially to rural and distressed urban areas. Through their opposition to build-out requirements, the industry has made it clear they have no intention of investing in such areas.

Municipalities are already subject to numerous public scrutiny and public accountability requirements for all infrastructure projects. These new Draconian requirements are simply designed to prevent deployment of local broadband networks, whether done alone or even in partnership with the private sector.

The League opposes HB 1587 because it seeks to undermine local authority to undertake enterprise activities ­ authority that has been upheld by the courts.

This bill was scheduled for discussion before the House Public Utilities Committee this week, but was not taken up. Please call your representatives and ask them to oppose this bill.

(cross posted from BlueNC)

One thought on “Stop NC HB 1587: Prevent Big Telecom from killing Muni WiFi

  1. It’s back – May 30 – 10:00 a.m. House Utility Committee will “consider” the legislation. Email Committee members. Save North Carolina’s Broadband Future.

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