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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.

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RE: Moving to NC
By Mitch101 on 5/22/2011 10:28:16 PM , Rating: 2
The article is not entirely accurate. Greenlight is the one and only municipal cable/internet/phone provider that seems to be competing at a level that Time Warner cannot. As for Mooresville I live here and Time Warner is much cheaper and faster than MI-Connection. In other parts AT&T U-Verse is an option and I would dare to compare HD channels on U-Verse compared to the local municipal provider.

Here is MI-Connections Fees

The cheapest phone service is if you subscribe to cable and internet which is $35.00 heck Vonage is $26.00 a month and my Ooma is like $10.00 a month because I bought the most expensive package but I paid for the equipment up front but after a year its much much cheaper than anything else. So your not going to get thier phone service meaning you will pay a little more on cable and internet. Ok now you look at Digital Cable which is $78.99/mo for 175 channels hd is an additional $5.00 and your going to pay $12.89/mo for a HD DVR. Your around $100.00 a month but then you realize you can get Direct TV and can get 35 more channels for $65.00 a month + $5.00 HD-DVR + 5.00 receiver charge. Well in the end with Direct TV you have 35 more channels and its $20.00 less a month so why get MI-Connection cable service? Lastly we move to internet. Its close I pay $64.95 for a 16meg connection and MI-Connection charges $8.00 more but they offer 2 meg upstream. But its the hiddens that kill the deal. Time Warner offers a $35.00 first year internet that MI-Connection cant come close too. Also MI-Connection has a ton of fees like Installation of One Service $49.95 which companies like Time Warner will waive. MI-Connection has stupid fees like DVR Activation Fee $25.00. I mean really $25.00 to activate their DVR?

Now you could say Ill triple play but you wind up speding $170.00 a month for less than what time warner offers for $130.00 a month.

The reality is Time Warner sold MI-Connection the old and 3-6 months later Time Warner rolled back through the developments putting in top of the line stuff. Basically the sale probably paid for Time Warner to upgrade to all new. So MI-Connection paid then had to pay again to update everything and they still don't offer as much.

The best part it was paid for with peoples taxes and loses money and in order to remain afloat they want more tax dollars. They should just let it die. Let AT&T and Time Warner and any other big corp fight it out. Kudos to Greenlight but MI-Connection is just crooks.

RE: Moving to NC
By Mitch101 on 5/22/2011 10:49:55 PM , Rating: 2
Don't let the cable get you down fishman its just one of the stupid things and you can get service from someone else. Really what are we talking $35.00 a month but there are alternatives.

I moved down from NJ. My taxes are half, Car Insurance is just a under half, My house is new too so its not like new house tax back north, water and electric are cheaper but I got a bigger house in the process, My commute is better where in NJ I would have had to spend 100K more on a home to get to where the jobs were. For those who say you make less thats bull I make more when you factor in Im in a lower tax bracket so I pay less in taxes and pay less in bills so in the end I have more dollars in my pocket. What you make is whats after all the bills have been paid not your pre-tax skippy. Do the math. Gas is about 10 cents more per gallon and you have to pump it yourself which I actually enjoy because I never enjoyed who and how the gas attendants handled my credit card in NJ when I couldn't get to my regular station. Yea buddy just leave it in the pump where the guy behind me can see it and is probably taking a picture of it right now. My credit card number was lifted 3 times living in NJ.

Oh and if I accidentally cut someone off they don't try and follow me home or feel the need to try and run me off the road. Because of it I'm a much more courteous driver now.

Do yourself a favor and move North Carolina its awesome. Lots to do and enjoy here. 4 Seasons. No snow shoveling but they do get ice roads but are getting better at treating it. If you want really cheap drop just over the border into South Carolina. My buddys farm only because he has a few horses paid $1200 in property taxes last year. Then the government gave him back another $400. LOL.

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