Cable guys pushing for quick Senate Bill move May 27

Received this from a friend today:

S. 1004 (Level Playing Field Study) will be in Public Utilities this Wednesday, May 27. Their plan is to refer the study bill to Rules very quickly with NO CHANGES.  This will likely be a rush job like we experienced in Senate Commerce.  We were told that the bill could not be changed or amended in committee, which makes no sense.  Time Warner Cable and the Cable Lobby want the study bill (S. 1004) to go to Revenue Laws ONLY.

This company does not want a “turf battle” – they want their way on where the study will go and feel Revenue Laws is more industry friendly than the Broadband Committee. What do they have to hide by preventing the Broadband Committee from also look at the bill?

Shouldn’t the Broadband Committee study a broadband bill?  Doesn’t that make sense?

We need everyone to email and call both the Chairman and members of the Public Utilities committee and ask them to change and amend the Senate version to match the House version by sending the study to both the Broadband Committee and Revenue Laws Committee or PREFERABLY to amend it and send it only to the Broadband Committee.


Broadband blog is good reading


Strange as it may seem, a lot of good things have come out of this battle in the NC Legislature. While the cable company rushed us with big lobbyist cannons, you good folks jumped up with armor aplenty. First, a big thank you to all of you.

I’ve crossed paths with some great people during this year’s battle. One of them is Craig Settles of Fierce Broadband Wireless. Settles knows technical jargon yet can craft a  family of sentences that keep it interesting. I encourage you to check out his blog daily. Craig and I have not exchanged a single dollar. I just admire the guy and want you to see his work. Here’s a sample:

“Small town governments are not noted for having gobs of engineering resources or battalions of technology experts. Yet Wilson used mostly internal staff to design a network that’s 100 Mbps down and up. The staff built the network’s backbone. They retained a design firm mainly for guidance, and another firm to build out one element of the network. Wilson isn’t alone.

While incumbents are making grand proclamations announcing 100 Mbps services, which seem to be more hype than reality when you peel back press releases, Pulaski, Tenn., Lafayette, La., and UTOPIA also have built and launched 100 Mbps services. Forget for a minute the arguments some make about the business viability of muni networks.

Instead of spending all that money on lobbyists and public campaigns to stifle community efforts, Time Warner, et. al., should be flying their designers into these rural areas to find out how they’re pulling this off. The argument that you need to legislate a level playing field is ridiculous. You don’t have a 100 Mbps product to compete with and it’s not clear when you will. These towns with far fewer resources than private sector companies are delivering the service with satisfied customers now. Don’t kill these projects, figure out how to clone them! Or partner with them.”

Video of the House Vote

Here’s a 29-minute unedited video of the vote to send HB 1252 to a study committee. We’re told the cable company is lobbying to hand-pick a more friendly committee instead.

Heads up, there may be more work behind the scenes

This was posted yesterday on the Facebook page of NC Citizens Against Anti-Competition Bills Hb1252 and SB1004:

“Rep. Bill Faison is under pressure from Time Warner Cable to move H.1252 out of his committee. Please call Rep. Faison today at 715-3019 or email him at and remind him there’s a lot of us on his side.

I agree that we should let Rep. Faison know that there are a lot of us that need to remain vigilant. Please take the time and write him a quick note letting him know that you are on his side and that you are glad that he realizes that citizens are who he represents, no matter what Time Warner thinks.”

The Public Utilities Committee voted last week to send Hb1252 (a.k.a. the entrenched monopoly act, courtesy of our friends at Stop the Cap) to Rep. Faison’s Rural Broadband committee because his committee has been studying broadband for two years now.  Long story short, the cable company wants it sent to a different committee with representatives that are more friendly to their cause. Their lobbyists are working this bill hard.

More good news! Senate’s monopoly protection bill put on hold

hugHey, guys. Just got out of the Senate Commerce Committee and the news is good. While SB 1004 wasn’t killed (that would have been perfect), it was sent to another Senate Committee for study.

Translation? Greenlight is safe and the future of next-generation broadband is in better shape now than it was just a little while ago. The Revenue Committee has a reputation for taking a good look at bills that come its way. Assuming everyone is invited to the table, they should get an understanding of how important next-generation broadband is to our state’s future.

Historically speaking, they’ll start looking at it sometime this September and have a report prepared about a year from now. Meanwhile, North Carolinians and people all over the country will continue to see more and more how important true high speed is to our economic development. The landscape has changed in a good way over the past couple of years and it will continue to change while they do this study.

Two bills sent to study committees in less than 24 hours. Wow.

Gotta shout out to the social media folks again. Several people came to the early meeting because they heard about it online and wanted to make sure their voices were heard. One woman saw it on Twitter just a few hours before the meeting began and decided to bring her husband along. Thanks to all of you who tweeted, posted, blogged and called.

Bottom line,  your input has been huge throughout this process. These duplicate bills may have wrecked NC’s next-generation broadband expansion, but you helped reel them in. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Urgent! Senate version of HB 1252 up tomorrow, May 7.

DecalForgive the exclamation points, but this is important.

One day after the house public utilities committee sent the anti-municipal broadband bill to a study committee, the senate version of the SAME BILL will be heard in a Senate committee tomorrow.

Senate bill 1004 can stop next-generation broadband deployment just as abruptly as the house bill. When I called one of the chairperson’s offices to confirm the time just now, the administrative assistant handed the phone to a cable company employee to explain the bill.

Please contact the NC Senate Commerce Committee if you care about next-generation broadband in our state.

If you can come, even better. Senate Commerce Committee meets Thursday, May 7, at 8:00am – Room 1027 of the Legislative Building.

Great news, HB 1252 voted to study committee

DecalGlad to report good news, folks. You did it. HB 1252 is going to a study committee. That means it will be adapted, at the very least, before it would come back for a vote. It may not come back at all. Greenlight and all NC muni broadband projects are alive and well.

This is good news because it stops any forward progress of the bill for a while. If it gets out of the House Select Rural Broadband Committee (I think that’s the correct name) it would have to go through at least one more study committee (Revenue) before it made it back to square one.

This is an excellent victory for the spread of next-generation broadband in NC.

Thanks to all of you for contacting our legislators. They even mentioned during today’s meeting that they had received a lot of emails and phone calls about the bill. You rock. All of you.

Vote is today in the Public Utilities Committee

The NC House Public Utilities Committee votes today on HB 1252. They meet at 10am in room 1228 of the Legislative building on Jones St. It will be interesting to see what happens after several large companies including Google, Intel and Alcatel-Lucent sent a letter to lawmakers this week saying HB 1252 is not good for NC’s progress.

Here’s a portion: “HB1252 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 HB1252.”

If you care about NC’s progress in next-generation broadband access, please join us today in Raleigh.

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. 🙂

Private industries blast broadband monopoly bill. This is HUGE.

A joint letter sent to state legislators and the governor yesterday should be a nail in the coffin for the argument that this is a private sector vs. public sector issue.

Several large companies including Google, Intel Corporation and Alcatel-Lucent have explained to our lawmakers that HB 1252 is bad for NC and for the country.

Here’s a segment:

“We, the undersigned private-sector companies and trade associations urge you to oppose HB1252, the so-called “Level Playing Field Act.” HB1252 is “level” only in the sense that it will harm both the public and private sectors. It will 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 will hurt the private sector by undermining public-private partnerships, hamstringing our ability to sell our goods and services, interfering with workforce development, and stifling creativity and innovation.”

Well said. These companies understand that better broadband, no matter who provides it, is an economic engine for our state.

If local communities are forbidden from providing better service because of new laws, North Carolinians will have to settle for whatever the cable and phone companies provide them. The places that are most profitable will get the best service. Everyone else will have to wait until they are worth the investment.

Thanks to industry leaders who crafted the letter:

American Public Power Association
Atlantic Engineering Group, Inc.
Fiber to the Home Council
Google, Inc.
Intel Corporation
Utilities Telecom Council
Telecommunications Industry Association