North Carolina misses the municipal broadband benefits Kansas City gets with Google
Originally published: April 12, 2011
Last updated: April 12, 2011 - 9:30pm
The excitement around Google's selection of Kansas City, Kansas as the first city in which the search engine giant will build out a 100 Gbps open access network has perhaps overshadowed the latest dust-up in North Carolina over legislation that would prevent cities in that state from doing anything similar to what Kansas City is about to do.
It's the endgame in a years-long series of legislative moves to disallow municipal-owned broadband networks from being established in North Carolina cities. Past bills did not make it through the state legislature, but HR. 129, aka the "Level Playing Field/Local Government Competition" bill introduced by Republican Rep. Marilyn Avila was approved 81-37 by the state's House of Representatives in late March and is currently being debated at the state Senate level.
Municipal broadband doesn't have to prove itself as a viable option for high-speed networking, any more than incumbent telcos and cablecos have to prove themselves. It's managed by, paid for by, and ultimately owned by the residents and taxpayers of the community it serves. And while failure in the face of competition from private providers or due to a shaky economic climate is a possibility, the advantages of a community-owned and managed high speed network--lower subscription rates, higher broadband speeds, and a resultant economic boost for local businesses-- outweigh the disadvantages.
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