Private industry says latest monopoly-protection bill is bad for economy, NC

Google, Alcatel-Lucent, Intel and other industry representatives are asking NC lawmakers not to pass new restrictions on municipal broadband and to abandon Senate Bill 1209. They understand that city or county owned broadband is a good thing for business, not a bad thing as suggested by some of the cable and telecom giants.

The full text of their letter is below. Here’s a segment:

“We support strong, fair and open competition to ensure users can enjoy the widest range of choice and opportunities to access content online, which is the heart of economic development in an information-based global market. SB 1209 is a step in the wrong direction. North Carolina should be lowering barriers to public broadband initiatives rather than establishing new ones, so that we and other high technology companies can spread and prosper across this beautiful state”

I appreciate their willingness to take a stand on this issue.

May 21, 2010
Senator Dan Clodfelter
Chair, Senate Finance Committee
300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 408
Raleigh, NC 27603-5925

Dear Senator Clodfelter:

We, the undersigned private-sector companies and trade associations, urge you to oppose SB 1209 or any other measure that would impose significant barriers to public broadband initiatives in North Carolina. Measures such as SB 1209 would harm both the public and private sectors. It would thwart public broadband initiatives, stifle economic growth, prevent the creation or retention of thousands of jobs, and diminish quality of life in North Carolina. In particular, it would hurt the private sector in several ways: by undermining public-private partnerships; by hamstringing the private sector’s ability to sell goods and services in North Carolina; by interfering with workforce development; and by stifling creativity and innovation.

The United States continues to suffer through one of the most serious economic crises in decades. To address these concerns, Congress and the Obama Administration have made more than $7 billion available to catalyze both public and private efforts to accelerate the deployment, adoption and use of broadband infrastructure and services. The Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Plan also admonishes states not to interfere with community broadband efforts where local officials do not believe that the private sector is acting fast enough or well enough to meet the community’s broadband needs. Consistent with these expressions of national policy, public entities across America, including North Carolina, are doing their share to bring affordable high-capacity broadband connectivity to all Americans. Enactment of direct or effective barriers to municipal broadband would not only be counterproductive, hurting both the public and private sectors, but it would also put North Carolina conspicuously at odds with national broadband policy.

We support strong, fair and open competition to ensure users can enjoy the widest range of choice and opportunities to access content online, which is the heart of economic development in an information-based global market. SB 1209 is a step in the wrong direction. North Carolina should be lowering barriers to public broadband initiatives rather than establishing new ones, so that we and other high technology companies can spread and prosper across this beautiful state. Please oppose SB 1209 and other measures that would significantly impair municipal broadband deployments or public-private partnerships in North Carolina.

Sincerely,

Alcatel-Lucent, American Public Power Association, Atlantic-Engineering, the Fiber to the Home Council, Google, Intel, Telecommunications Industry Association, and Utilities Telecom Council.
cc: Governor Beverly Perdue
Secretary of Commerce J. Keith Crisco
Rep. Hugh Holliman
Rep Joe Hackney
Senator Marc Basnight
Senate Finance Committee

Private sector: city/county broadband moratorium would “interfere with workforce development, stifle creativity and innovation”

The cable company, in its efforts to protect its monopoly in NC cities, has tried to frame municipal broadband as government versus the private sector. Once again, a host of national private sector companies says that’s just not true.

Google, Intel and Alcatel-Lucent have written a letter to NC lawmakers, urging them not to adopt a municipal broadband moratorium. They’ve written similar letters twice before, and they’ve helped keep the issue at bay for a while, but the cable company keeps convincing different lawmakers that new protectionist laws are needed.

A moratorium on new city/county broadband networks is expected tomorrow, May 5, in the Revenue Laws Committee. -BB

May 4, 2010
The Honorable Joe Hackney
Speaker
North Carolina House of Representatives
2304 Legislative Office Building
Raleigh, NC 27601-1096
Senator Marc Basnight
President Pro Tempore
16 W. Jones Street, Room 2007
Raleigh, NC 27601-2808

Dear Speaker Hackney and Senator Basnight:

We, the undersigned private-sector companies and trade associations, urge you to oppose any legislation that would place a moratorium on public broadband deployments in North Carolina. Such a bill would harm both the public and private sectors. It would thwart public broadband initiatives, stifle economic growth, prevent the creation or retention of thousands of jobs, and diminish quality of life in North Carolina. In particular, it would hurt the private sector in several ways: by undermining public-private partnerships; by hamstringing the private sector’s ability to sell goods and services in North Carolina; by interfering with workforce development; and by stifling creativity and innovation.

The United States continues to suffer through one of the most serious economic crises in decades. To address these concerns, Congress and the Obama Administration have made more than $7 billion available to catalyze both public and private efforts to accelerate the deployment, adoption and use of broadband infrastructure and services. The Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Plan also admonishes states not to interfere with community broadband efforts where local officials do not believe that the private sector is acting fast enough or well enough to meet the community’s broadband needs. Consistent with these expressions of national policy, public entities across America, including North Carolina, are doing their share to bring affordable high-capacity broadband connectivity to all Americans. Enactment of a counterproductive municipal broadband moratorium would thus not only hurt both the public and private sectors, but it would also put North Carolina conspicuously at odds with national broadband policy.

We support strong, fair and open competition to ensure users can enjoy the widest range of choice and opportunities to access content online, which is the heart of economic development in an information-based global market. A municipal broadband moratorium is a step in the wrong direction. North Carolina should be lowering barriers to public broadband initiatives rather than establishing new ones, so that we and other high technology companies can spread and prosper across this beautiful state. Please oppose any moratorium or limitation on municipal broadband deployments

Sincerely,

Alcatel-Lucent, American Public Power Association, Atlantic-Engineering, Fiber to the Home Council (FTTHC), Google, Intel, Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), United Telecom Council (UTC)
cc: Governor Beverly Perdue
Secretary of Commerce J. Keith Crisco
Rep. Hugh Holliman
Rep William Wainwright
Senator Katie Dorsett
Senator Phil Berger
Representative Paul Stam

Great Facebook fan page available for community broadband

Communities United for Broadband

Communities United for Broadband

As countless cities and towns wait to see who will get the Google fiber gift, more communities are realizing that they may need to pursue fiber on their own.

Wilson asked the private service providers to build a fiber network and they said no, so we built it ourselves. Today, we have 100M synchronous connections available to homes and 1G connections available to business and industry.

Some folks who obviously know a lot about municipal broadband have created a great Facebook presence where you can learn more about this potential option. As great as the Google Fiber Initiative is, no one expects more than one or two cities to land a fiber network because of it. Wilson’s community-owned fiber network, Greenlight, is working better than expected two years in. It may also be a good choice for your community.

More coverage of Greenlight as Google mulls fiber location

Our small city has benefited from all the talk about Google’s fiber optic initiative. Wilson’s Greenlight was recently mentioned in the San Jose Mercury News in a column by Chris O’Brien as well as several other regional publications.

Two things:

First, one of the intial questions is always, “how many people have signed up?” As of last week, we had about 4,700 subscribers. A subscriber means a home, a business or some other property. That’s roughly 23.4% of Wilson. Why is that important? Our business model says Wilson will be cash flow positive if Greenlight reaches 30% penetration after three full years. It’s been less than two years since the first residential subscriber signed up and we’re most of the way there. I hope this does away with the notion that people are happy with 20th century bandwidth.

Second, I hope Google’s initiative also emphasizes that fiber optic technology will remain the gold standard for a long time. Can you imagine Google spending millions (or billions, depending on the size of the town) on outdated technology?

The cable company is doing everything it can to stop municipal broadband, but Wilson continues to operate one of the fastest all fiber optic networks in the nation.

Wilson already has what other cities are begging for

Hats off to Topeka, Kansas, a.k.a. Google, Kansas. The city believes so strongly in faster broadband speeds that they have unofficially changed their name to attract Google. Google Fiber for the Communities hopes to: “test ultra-high speed broadband networks in one or more trial locations across the country.” Fiber brings speeds that blow away the old copper stuff.

Before I say anything else, I need to remind you that Wilson already has what Topeka wants; fiber to the home. Wilson’s slowest residential speed is 10M down and 10M up. You can go all the way up to 100M, if you choose. And, Greenlight is owned by the community.

Now, back to Topeka. Here’s an excerpt from a story at CNN:

The company has said U.S. Internet speeds are falling behind the global standard, and it wants to fix things itself by installing new broadband cable. (Mayor) Bunten hopes the proclamation, which he read at a special City Council meeting on Monday, will catch Google’s attention and make the Internet company decide to use Topeka as its guinea pig. The document renames Topeka as “Google, Kansas — the capital city of fiber optics.”

Good luck, Topeka. Fiber optics are a wonderful thing. If you ever want to try out some true broadband speeds, we’d be happy to show you in Wilson.

Google shows that Americans want better speed.

Some exciting news is out about broadband speeds. Google is looking for a few markets around the US to build fiber networks. These networks would provide Internet access at up to one Gig per second.

The networks would be experimental and they’re probably many, many times faster than what you have now. If your only choice is the cable or phone company, your speeds are probably topping out at about 6 Mbps. During the recent snows when the kids were out of school, I bet the speed dropped even more due to high demand.

Google’s announcement verifies one of the key reasons the City of Wilson built its all fiber optic network two years ago. In spite of the cable company’s insistence that their “blazing fast” speeds are enough, people want more. Today’s Web demands it. Tomorrow’s Web will need even more bandwidth.

Greenlight, Wilson’s all fiber network is available to every address in town, and it’s owned by the people of Wilson. Today, we offer residential speeds up to 100Mpbs. Our businesses can get up to one Gig, the same speed that Google is researching.

Yet, the cable company wants the State government to prevent cities like Wilson from offering these speeds. The back and forth in the NC Legislature goes on.

Broadband monopoly bill up for a vote tomorrow (5/6)

The bill that would force you to wait on the cable/phone supplier for better broadband speeds is up for a vote tomorrow morning (Wed., May 6) in the NC House Public Utilities Committee in room 1228 of the Legislative building on Jones St. HB 1252 would prevent any NC city/county/town from providing broadband services to its communities.

The vote should be interesting because just yesterday, some BIG private sector companies weighed in against the bill, saying it will stifle next-generation broadband development in our state. We’re talking Google, Intel, Alcatel-Lucent. This should end any notion that municipal broadband is about anything other than better service.

If you care about NC broadband deployment, I hope you’ll join us there. See you tomorrow. :)

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