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

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