City of Greensboro Opposes HB1587

Last night the Greensboro City council passed a resolution opposing HB1587. That brings the count of communities opposing HB1587 to seven nine. The others are the City of Wilson, City of Fayetteville, City of Rocky Mount, Town of Carrboro, Town of Chapel Hill, Polk County, City of Monroe, and Rockingham County. There are also several entities that have opposed this bill such as the Rocky Mount Chamber of Commerce and Fayetteville Public Works Commission.

Here is one of my favorite WHEREAS in the resolution from the City of Greensboro:

WHEREAS, the re-combining of telecommunications companies (such as AT&T and the “baby Bells”) continues to result in planned layoffs, the inability to meet the demands of new and re-locating businesses for true high-speed broadband results in such businesses locating elsewhere, and the fact that there are telecommunications designers and equipment manufacturers and suppliers located in North Carolina who will be negatively impacted if local government is not allowed to provide needed communications services mean that North Carolina will stand to lose more jobs by not investing in top-quality broadband infrastructure than it will lose due to government provision of such services.

You can find a copy of the City of Greensboro resolution here. [doc]

Google and Intel letters about HB1587

Check out these two letters. One from Google’s State Policy Council John Burchett [PDF] and one from Intel’s Director of Communications policy Peter K. Pitch [PDF]. Both are to Speaker of the House Joe Hackney, Gov. Easley, and other Committee Representatives. They both speak against HB1587!

Google strongly opposes HB1587 and Intel writes in support of municipal network creation. Its wonderful to see these companies side with North Carolina municipalities.

It also bolsters my theory that the creation of HB1587 was motivated by the desire of Telecommunications companies to save old business models by buying legislation. New business models of the 21st century depend on open networks. Local municipalities can create open networks that support this model.

Why Muni Networks get Built

Local governments don’t spend millions of dollars and go through great hassle to create telecommunications monopolies. Most often they get into the business of providing infrastructure because the private sector won’t do it or can not do it at a high enough level. (DSL sucks and Cable modems are just enough)

The blog The Fiber Optic Files has a good post reminding us why Towns and Cities are creating broadband networks.

Seems like a good time for a refresher course because industry lobbyists are doing their best to frame the argument in the media.

They say it’s about fair competition. What they clearly want is to protect their monopolies throughout NC cities.

You should know:

* Wilson asked the current cable provider to build an all fiber optic network in Wilson. They said ‘no’. Now they don’t want us to do it either.
* The service offered by the incumbent is old technology. Wilson business and industry deserve the best communication tools available; just like they’d get anywhere in the world.
* Taxpayers aren’t paying for this. Subscribers will pay for the network.
* No one will be forced to buy services from the city.

Government is not perfect. I do not have blind faith in any government. Running a network will be hard. But when local elections are decided by hundreds of votes individuals can have a say. We have a good form of democracy in many of our Towns and Cities. Thus when our local government does something we can steer it to act as a socially responsible body. In other words make sure government helps all people not just Wall Street. If I have to pick a partner for the future of my community and family I’ll pick my local government before large private companies. In the case of providing broadband, so should you.

More Indy coverage of HB1587

Fiona Morgan writes another great article about HB1587. She covers the important parts of the last vote in the NC House Public Utilities Committee meeting well. I know because I was there.

Here is one part I didn’t know about. From Anti muni-broadband bill moves forward

There are still many questions about the bill’s impact. According to legislative staff, it would not affect free Wi-Fi service, as it only applies to services provided for a fee. But it could affect public-private partnerships, or any service that “provides a financial benefit” to a local government.

I remind people that the foe we are dealing with does not have a history of honest deal making. Not to mention legislative staff are not law makers. Either way you look at it I WANT my local government to have the option of making money. Wouldn’t that be better for them to be self sustaining that have a big tax increase? Not to mention that giving away resources cost money. I am all for free WiFi for the people but we must have options to pay for that needed service. HB1587 would completely stop local governments from getting into the business of helping its citizens. For what ever reason.

The sad fact is many local governments in North Carolina are not as forward thinking as the City of Wilson. The technology involved in broadband is complicated. Council Members, Alderman, and Mayors are often times not technologist. We need more geeks out there to help enlighten our Representatives. Local, State, and National.

NC House Public Utilities Committee Vote on HB1587

On June 6, 2006, the NC House Public Utilities Committee voted to move forward on House Bill 1587. HB1587 places severe restrictions on NC cities that work to provide superior broadband Internet, cable TV and phone service. The city of Wilson has had an all-fiber optic network in place since March, 2006. Wilson is expanding that network now to reach every home and business. This video shows the June 6 vote. DON’T SHUT THE G.A.T.E. Greater Access to Technology for Everyone

Understanding A Bad Bill

LUX.ET.UMBRA has a blog post about the bad bill HB1587. I appreciate his post and a look at both sides who work for and against this bill. Please go read his post. Here is my response.

Right now many rural municipalities in North Carolina do not have high quality broadband. Despite several Cities and Towns trying to work with companies to provided it. If a for-profit company can not make a profit providing service in these communities then I agree they shouldn’t attempt it. The sad fact is people in these communities can not wait for telcos profitability to materialize. The world is moving way to fast too wait. This is where municipal networks can help. To fill gaping voids in access. The presence of cable modem and DSL speed is not enough. Not in this age of a multimedia Internet.
Continue reading “Understanding A Bad Bill”

Town of Carrboro Opposes HB1587

Last night the Town of Carrboro passed a resolution opposing HB1587. They join the Cities of Wilson and Fayetteville plus the Town of Chapel Hill opposing hb1587 – The Local Government Fair Competition Act. Thank you Mayor and Alderman!

Town of Carrboro Resolution Opposing HB1587 PDF

Know any other counties or municipalities that have officially opposed hb1587? Please contact me. (ex. An Assistant Attorney in Greensboro spoke against it. But I don’t know if they passed a resolution.)

Town of Chapel Hill Opposes HB1587

The Town of Chapel Hill has passed a resolution to opposed NC House Bill 1587. (Memorandum about opposition) They join the Cities of Wilson and Fayetteville in sending a strong message to the NC House that the Local Government Fair Competition Act, HB 1587, is a bad idea. It is not fair to municipalities and its citizens. The vote was unanimous. Thank you Mayor and Council members!

Town of Chapel Hill Resolution Opposing HB1587 PDF

How hb1587 has changed

MuniWireless has a post called Stop the North Carolina anti-muni broadband bill that describes the changes just made to hb1587.

In short, HB 1587 is bad for the communities of North Carolina and bad for United States as a whole. It is particularly offensive because it is touted as being necessary to achieve a “level playing field” for the incumbent communications providers, yet the incumbents do not, and could not, comply with HB 1587 themselves. To determine how bad a bill HB 1587 really is, the North Carolina legislature need only ask the incumbents whether they would be willing to abide by its restrictions themselves. HB 1587 should be defeated in its entirety.

Here is the new bad bill. HB1587_as_amended_June_6_2007.pdf