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NC Governor Bev Purdue

A comparison of broadband download speeds
Governor Bev Purdue says that she will neither sign nor veto H.129

It looks as though the big telecoms that provide internet service in North Carolina -- Time Warner Cable, AT&T, etc. -- will score a major victory in their assault on municipal internet. This victory has been made possible thanks to Governor Beverly Perdue's indecisiveness on the matter.

I. Governor Beverly Purdue Chooses Inaction over Ruffling Feathers

Purdue issued the following statement on Friday in regards to House Bill 129 (H.129):

I believe that every school, household and business in North Carolina – no matter where they are – should have access to efficient and affordable broadband services.

There is a need to establish rules to prevent cities and towns from having an unfair advantage over providers in the private sector.  My concern with House Bill 129 is that the restrictions the General Assembly has imposed on cities and towns who want to offer broadband services may have the effect of decreasing the number of choices available to their citizens.

For these reasons, I will neither sign nor veto this bill.  Instead, I call on the General Assembly to revisit this issue and adopt rules that not only promote fairness but also allow for the greatest number of high quality and affordable broadband options for consumers. 

Since Governor Purdue has chosen not to sign the bill, it will automatically become law in North Carolina. 

II. H.129: “No Soup for You!”

H.129 would put restrictions on cities that currently provide internet service to its citizens (Wilson, Salisbury, Morganton, Davidson, and Mooresville), and would significantly hinder any efforts by other cities to pursue their own municipal internet services.

H.129 ensures that companies like Time Warner Cable and AT&T will continue to be the dominant players in most N.C. markets, even with higher pricing and speeds that often lag far behind what cities themselves can provide for its residents.

Some of the provisions in H.129 state that cities: 

  • Shall provide nondiscriminatory access to private communications service providers on a first-come, first-served basis to rights-of-way, poles, or conduits owned, leased, or operated by the city unless the facilities have insufficient capacity for the access and additional capacity cannot reasonably be added to the facilities.

  • Shall not use city resources that are not allocated for cost accounting purposes to the city-owned communications service  to promote city-owned communications service in comparison to private services or, directly or indirectly, require city employees, officers, or contractors to purchase city services

  • Shall not subsidize the provision of communications service with funds from any other noncommunications service, operation, or other revenue source, including any funds or revenue generated from electric, gas, water, sewer, or garbage services.

  • Shall not price any communications service below the cost of providing the service, including any direct or indirect subsidies received by the city-owned communications service provider and allocation of costs associated with any shared use of buildings, equipment, vehicles, and personnel with other city departments.

Companies like Time Warner Cable say that they simply can't compete with the lower-priced offerings from municipal-based services. For example, 10Mbps Road Runner service will cost you $57 per month. A competing plan from Greenlight (run by the town of Wilson) only costs $35 per month.

III. Citizens Suffer, Lawmakers and Telecoms Reap the Benefits

This “non-action” by Governor Purdue represents a significant blow to N.C. residents who live in underserved communities when it comes to broadband access, or are simply looking for cheaper alternatives. The rise of municipal internet in N.C. was a direct result of the major telecoms dragging their feet when it came to providing services or boosting broadband speeds. Then, when the cities decided to take matters into their own hands, the telecoms stopped dragging their feet and started running to lawmakers for help

However, this outcome shouldn't be too surprising. Rep. Julia Howard (R-Davie, Iredell) proposed H.129 and sure enough, she received $6,250 total in campaign donations from Time Warner, CenturyLink, and AT&T. Likewise, Time Warner's political action committee (PAC) has provided over $214,000 to state lawmakers since 2008. As for Governor Purdue, she received $3,000 in her winning gubernatorial campaign in 2008 from Time Warner. Time Warner also gave $10,000 to the Democratic Governor's Association -- which Purdue hosted -- in April.

Reuters recently reported that the United States ranks ninth out of 29 countries when it comes to broadband adoption (63 percent penetration). In addition, download speeds lag behind other countries. New York City residents, for example, average download speeds of 11.7 Mbps. Residents in Seoul, South Korea, however, are enjoying average download speeds of 35.8 Mbps.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

N. C. Residents, remeber this on election day.
By Mr Perfect on 5/22/2011 1:11:35 PM , Rating: 5
Vote her out.

RE: N. C. Residents, remeber this on election day.
By T2k on 5/22/2011 1:36:40 PM , Rating: 5
Exactly. Classic PoS rent-a-politician except she's too sleazy t0o even come clean which side she's on...


RE: N. C. Residents, remeber this on election day.
By Iaiken on 5/22/11, Rating: 0
By FastEddieLB on 5/23/2011 2:14:16 AM , Rating: 4
Just because you might wind up with a male doesn't make him any less of a bitch. Such is the nature of politics.

By inperfectdarkness on 5/22/2011 6:55:34 PM , Rating: 4
how many instances like this do we need to demonstrate that politics--in the USA as it exists today--do not serve the consumer?

how long will citizens tolerate this? how long before they wake up and realize that we need MORE than just a change of butts in legislature? voting in new people is like re-arranging turds in a toilet. the changes that needs to happen--won't be legislated; that would require legislators acting against their own personal self-interest.

this has NOTHING to do with an "unfair" advantage. if a community VOTES to band together and provide its own municipal services...that's legal, fair, and equitable. telecoms have no right to bitch; they had their chance.

By rs2 on 5/23/2011 12:28:43 AM , Rating: 2
Politics should be about serving the *voter*, not the consumer.

They're not necessarily the same thing.

By Dr of crap on 5/23/2011 8:41:45 AM , Rating: 3
Amen - I'm so tired of the same old political crap and everyone falls for it!

By bupkus on 5/23/2011 12:03:58 PM , Rating: 3
The average voter is a consumer. But besides that, is it the consumer who is best represented by lobbyists? Need help?
No it is not.
Lobbyists and those who hire them win and we the consumers lose because they are simply smarter.
Even on the occasion when consumer advocates win on an issue so many consumers who prefer ideology to their own self interests profess their desire to shoot themselves in the foot.

By stimudent on 5/23/2011 12:45:31 AM , Rating: 3
The Special Interests will probably win. The companies and politicians like the ones mentioned in this article usually win over the general public with their money. In the end, after they win, we'll see the Public Relations efforts go into overdrive. These efforts will feature Cute/pretty models/actors smiling at the camera along with catchy jingles and colorful and pretty logos and other effects. The Public will be taken in by it and will once again become complacent and disarmed - where the politicians and corporation want us. History repeating itself.

By wiz220 on 5/23/2011 11:42:29 AM , Rating: 3
Funny you mention that. I see these exact types of cute cuddly adds coming out from the oil companies every day. Trying to convince us that they really do a bunch of good for us with the 10's of billions of dollars they make, plus the billions in taxpayer money that they get. It's pretty sickening.

By gorehound on 5/23/2011 8:17:53 AM , Rating: 3
and along with her so we do not keep nagging on government the rest of the corrupt republicans and democrats should go.

we need a new party with good ideas to oust the corrupt assholes out of washington

By Lerianis on 5/23/2011 11:46:23 AM , Rating: 3
No, what we need are attorney generals who are willing to do their jobs and bring elected officials up on charges, unlike today.

By Reclaimer77 on 5/23/2011 11:53:46 AM , Rating: 2
The fact that they voted her in first should tell you that this alone isn't going to be enough to convince everyone to vote her out.

N.C residents, for whatever reason, love tax and spend Democrats and left leaning Republicans. Bev Perdue throws out that smile, some southern charm, and the idiots are left drooling with their check books in-hand.

RE: N. C. Residents, remeber this on election day.
By mcnabney on 5/23/2011 2:00:43 PM , Rating: 2
Ah yes, Jesse Helms. Quite the lefty he was.

By Reclaimer77 on 5/23/2011 2:23:10 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah because ONE guy either way proves a lot..

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