Bill exempts cities dealing with broadband


Author: Emily Ford
Coverage Type: reporting
Location:
NC, United States

Salisbury (NC)’s efforts to keep proposed state laws from affecting Fibrant got a boost. North Carolina Sen. Fletcher Hartsell, a Republican who represents Cabarrus County, introduced legislation that competes with the embattled House Bill 129, “Level Playing Field.”

Salisbury fought House Bill 129. The cable industry backed it. Hartsell’s competing legislation, Senate Bill 511 or “Cities/Communications Service,” offers full exemption for Salisbury and other cities with networks up and running. His bill defines how government can operate broadband businesses. N.C. Sen. Buck Newton, a Republican representing Wilson, is one of the primary sponsors. Like Fibrant, Wilson’s Greenlight utility competes with private industry to sell Internet, cable and phone services. Although Salisbury and Wilson are exempt from House Bill 129, the proposed law would ban Salisbury from selling Fibrant to all but four other towns and prevent Wilson from selling Greenlight outside the city limits, which Greenlight’s director called a death knell.

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