NC communities deemed unprofitable for broadband fight for right to build their own networks
Originally published: March 18, 2011
Last updated: March 18, 2011 - 3:50pm
North Carolina lawmakers aiming to stop cities from building their own broadband networks decided to allow public comments the next time they consider the latest effort by telecom companies to keep local governments out of the business.
The House Finance Committee will hear from the public March 23 as it reviews legislation that would sharply restrict the chances for municipalities to step in when cable and phone companies decide not to build high-speed Internet systems in lightly populated areas. Opponents say telecom companies aren't extending super-fast Internet at reasonable prices, and that keeps smaller communities behind in the wired world of commerce. "They don't want to provide these services in a lot of areas because it's expensive, and they don't want municipalities to offer these services. That's an unlevel playing field for our citizens," said Rep. Deborah Ross (D). Legislation unveiled March 17 was changed to ease the rules for communities in which at least half the households have no access to high-speed Internet except through a satellite provider. Another change ensures the new rules don't affect the municipal networks already established in Wilson, Salisbury, Morganton and Iredell County, which have borrowed to build their systems.
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