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. 🙂


2 Responses

  1. I want to offer my support and perhaps a piece of the puzzle.

    Why would a politician introduce sponsor such a bill to limit competition in the consumer broadband Internet industry?

    According to a friend who was a commissioner of a very powerful communications regulating body in a different jurisdiction, the politicians and commissioners get played by the powerful companies.

    It starts out quite innocently as one of the lobbyists, in a relaxed social setting asks, “So what will you do after your term?”

    After listening to the dreams and aspirations of the politician or regulator, the lobbyist may look or sound disappointed. Then offering, “You know, we’re always looking for top notch people with regulatory experience.”

    The subject then gets dropped unless there is some interest from the other person. If there is, the lobbyist explains that nothing could be done now, but when retirement from politics or regulation is imminent, it would be a good time to talk and the proper introductions would be made.

    Bribes are so 1960s.

    These companies have operated with little opposition. Perhaps someone should make the point to politicians that there is a risk for them in alienating huge numbers of Internet users who have incredible skill sets involving getting messages in front of people who vote, and I’m not talking spamming here either.

    This blog is certainly a step in the right direction, and I trust that the politicians are hearing what intelligent and thoughtful citizens are saying.

    Godspeed with your high speed.

    (part time Cary resident)

  2. Rep. Harrell wrote the following on tonight in response to our analysis of HB 1252:

    “Ty Harrell on May 5, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    The only thing I have asked you and others to do is trust me. As hard as it may seem, this entire bill has more to it than meets the eye. Hopefully, you’ll hear what happens with the bill tomorrow in the Public Utilities Committee.

    Many thanks for your attention and consideration.

    Best wishes,

    I’m sorry, Rep. Harrell, but those of us who have been around the cable lobby know they are very good at outsmarting politicians and sneaking their agendas into laws. The -only- way this is resolved tomorrow is if this bill is withdrawn. I have dealt with the cable industry for more than 20 years. They are far craftier than Rep. Harrell realizes.

    The only good vote is a no vote, in the absence of the bill being withdrawn.

    Phillip Dampier
    Editor, StoptheCap!

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