Lawmakers again looking at muni broadband on Dec. 14

A handful of City staff will go back to Raleigh next week, Monday, December 14th for a meeting with the Select Committee on High Speed Internet Access in Rural and Urban Areas. The committee is looking into the issue of municipal broadband in NC. The specific study is of H.B. 1252, the Level Playing Field bill that would restrict cities and towns in NC from providing communication services.

We’ll be there again. Many of you came to the most recent meeting and we appreciate it. This one is in the same room, 544 LOB, at 9:30am.

So what happened last time? A couple of attorneys with ties to the cable company came after Wilson with a vengeance. I don’t remember them mentioning one time what commitment their client was making to improve broadband access in our state. Instead, both offered some untruths about how Wilson wanted a cable monopoly. Let that irony sink in for a moment. The cable company is worried that someone else will get a monopoly.

Our city manager mentioned that the City of Wilson didn’t build the community fiber optic network because of money. He mentioned that it was built to make true broadband available to our citizens and to help boost City services such as fire and police. The network won’t be paid off for another 10-12 years, but Wilson was willing to make that investment in its people.

The attorney’s response: It’s always all about money.

His answer shows one of the key differences between his client and a local government organization. Our elected officials won’t make an additional dime because of Greenlight. They made the decision to offer fiber optic service to everyone because Wilson deserves access to this network.

The cable company will eventually improve its bandwidth in big cities. Thanks to our community owned network, Wilson won’t be left behind.

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