This site is maintained by the City of Wilson, NC. It was created to spread the word about a flurry of monopoly-protection bills created by the cable company. For three years, 2007, 2009 and 2010, the company’s lobbyists pushed a bill called “The Level Playing Field”; the number changed each year, but the language was essentially the same.

After three years of striking out, their bill made it through in 2011 as H129. While federal policy is to expand broadband access, NC has decided to limit it.

If you live in Wilson, your all-fiber optic  network, Greenlight, was largely exempted from the new law. Nearly 6,000 households and businesses subscribe to our services, however, the new law limits Greenlight to areas inside Wilson County only.

Our 40, 60 and 100 Mbps speeds will remain available to anyone in the network, and yes, the upload speeds are just as fast as the downloads. If you’re a Greenlight subscriber, your service will continue uninterrupted.

While this battle is on pause in NC, this site will not be updated unless necessary. However, we will leave it in place because many of you have linked to posts here.

Thanks to all of you for your help!


421 Responses

  1. Hi, I love what your community is doing to provide the kinds of broadband people are wanting. I work for a small First Nation Tribal council Technical Wing in Northern Ontario, Canada.
    We are currently providing connectivity in the far, remote north via terrestrial T1 links and some large scale satellite links.
    We know all too well about how monopolized ISP’s will drag they’re feet in terms of bringing much needed broadband infrastructure into communities.
    Many of the communities in the North are building they’re own local loops but are stuck paying the exorbitant rates to Bell Canada for the backbone connection into the community.

    I think its quite fair that the other ISP’s in your area had the chance and didn’t act on it. Its quite obvious they’re only in it for the money and not to provide any more of a service than they have to in order to maximize profit.
    Its such a simple approach, these ISP’s need to start understanding that if they don’t change with the times and offer much improved services, someone else is going to…simple as that. Thats business!

    If they’re current infrastructure does does not have the capacity to offer the much higher bandwidth, then they need to realize that they have to start addressing that and likely should have started quite some time ago.

    It’ll be a pretty sad day when/if NC senate bills rule that the cities cannot provide broadband. It proves that the people are not thinking and acting progressively in terms of moving forward and growing.

    Here in Canada, its pretty well known that our biggest Telco monopoly seems to have a lot of pull when it comes to dealing with the CRTC to get its way. Hard to believe its been let get to where it is today.

    I wish you people much luck in being able to keep providing this service. Keep on it!

    • i bookmarked this blog. amazing

    • Good for you. Big business needs to learn that it’s a FREE MARKET, meaning you can’t just run to daddy govt. to bail you out and make laws to protect THEIR interest. Govt. is supposed to protect US, not them. Love it. Sign me up!

  2. I’m rooting for you guys. The only thing I wish is that something like this would come to my town. May have to work on it myself from a public/private partnership angle. Keep on truckin’…the more FTTH in the US, the better.

  3. Hi, I live in Troutman, NC, and this is the first i’ve heard of this wonderful program you have. I wish our small community could do something so forward-thinking and beneficial for its citizens. I currently subscribe to Time Warner, because it is the fastest available to us here. This is exactly why they are pursuing this bill. I can name off hand about 100 people who would switch providers if our town had such a program, and I moved here from PA. Good Luck with this situation, it is truly sad when “big-business” has to throw a hissy fit because people have found a better option than their service.

    PS- If you could somehow contact the leaders of my fine small town regarding this, many of us would greatly appreciate it! (If you aren’t shut down first, that is)

  4. Brian,

    I also will be rooting for you and your community. I live in Pleasant Hill, CA and wish we had something like this here. We need lawmakers to start making some SENSIBLE, pro-consumer laws, instead of protecting these oligopoly interests. The people need to rise up. There’s no excuse for the capping and overage charge push that’s going on now. It’s pure, unadulterated greed and protectionism is all.

    Anyway, best of luck to you and the City of Wilson!

  5. Any Bill that would restrict any entity from providing broadband to the public is not in the public’s best interest. Government provides other services right now and broadband is just as important as water, etc.

    We are now seeing “caps”, “metered billing”, in the news. Just how is that in our best interest?

    I do not think that the telcos and cable companies are being honest about the concerns over usage loads on their networks. Each segment seems to be motivated by different interests in pushing caps.

    In my NC county our telephone cooperative offers fiber to the home at a reasonable cost. I am one of the lucky ones. I think if the local government can do the same thing it should be supported. A wake call to those in state government should be sent. Don’t give up.

  6. Brian, keep up the good fight! Cities such as yours can provide much needed competition to the broadband market. In the next century, high-speed internet will be as necessary as electricity, water, and roads for jobs and living, so there is no reason why municipalities shouldn’t be able to offer their own broadband. It will also provide increased revenue to the locality, strengthen municipal bonds, provide local tech jobs, and improve local infrastructure and efficiency. I am in Virginia, but I have been writing my state and federal representatives about broadband issues for some time now. I hope everyone who can will do the same for their community!

  7. What Wilson has done is Awesome! And as usual, when competition rears its ‘ugly’ head, those already in control of the market start getting nervous and ridiculous bills begin making its way to congress in an effort to stifle it. It seems your city is a model for forward thinking, fiscally responsible government in action. Something of a rarity. I am all for true competition. Not price fixing and cover-ups.

  8. So you have to play by the same rules as other telcos and ISPs and I’m supposed to feel sorry for you? I applaud you for building out a competitive network and that should be encouraged everywhere. But also understand that you MUST play fairly and not engage in anti-cooperative practices that puts private industry at a disadvantage. It’s very disingenuous of you to say these bills “stop cities from providing broadband.” as I see no mention of this ANYWHERE in the bills as written of this date.

    So keep building your network and providing quality service, but you must play fair.

    • John, thanks for the note. That’s the issue. The bill provides additional rules for cities and towns that the telcos and ISP’s don’t have to follow, especially when combined with current state law.

      It is specifically designed by the industry to prevent funding and operation of municipal providers, the only ones willing to provide service in some cases; especially true high-speed service like we now have in Wilson.

      There’s no way this bill provides a level playing field.

      I’ve posted link to the actual bills above.

      • Brian, I’m confused. I’m all in support of a local municipality offering cost competitive service to their citizens, but what exactly in Senate Bill 1004 prevents funding or operation for municipal providers?

        With the exception of specific areas of the economy, government is not supposed to be competing with the commercial sector. Greenlight IS doing so. Greenlight has advantages that the commercial sector doesn’t such as tax relief because its a local government operation. All I see in the bill (which I read entirely) was that they want your costs to reflect the same taxes that a commercial operator would have to pay. Then they want you to not charge less than cost. Honestly, that sounds fair.

        As for using income from this business to fund other city activities, they’re asking for taxes to be contributed to the general fund as a part of your ‘income’ from operations. Indirectly that will buy a basketball court.

        I’m, really confused….

      • JH,

        I’m further confused than you are. Are you saying that you don’t want the citizens of Wilson to have the benefit of a service priced at exactly what it should cost.? Or, do you condon the overpricing of high-speed internet access?

        Why wouldn’t we want this for any community anywhere? As one writer has already stated, internet access has become as essential to everyday life as roads, gas, electricity, and other public services. If you disagree, shut down the roads, shut off electricity, and you tell me if civilization as we know it would come to a halt? This is just a further extension of needed services to our communities and if the price of it comes below what the private industries agreed should be the correct price, then good for Greenlight.

        You should be more for what the people will be getting out of this than worried about the fair playing practices of over pricing capitalists who already have a huge market and are more concerned with the bottom line and shareholders than the customer.

        Ted B.

    • So how many private companies make a profit on broadband in the first few years of rolling it out to a new area? I suspect they all have to loss lead. Until they build up their subscriber base. Therin lies the bias in this bill – while it ‘levels the playing field ‘ somewhat once services are up and running (with some extra burdens on the city to do with reporting – do the private companies have to provide info to their customers about how much profit they are making?) it subtly prevents any new networks being set up.

    • I just read through the bill, and it seems to be saying that a government entity would have to setup a completely separate financial organisation to run the service, and then artificially inflate the costs of that organisation to a very very vague “which would be incurred by a private organisation”.

      The bill makes out that this will make things “fair” where in actual fact, the incumbent providers are backed by massive corporations who are cross funding their cable with revenue from other services (which they are trying to stop the government from doing).

      It is a blatant con job.

      The first sentence of the bill is just there to make it “sound” fair – after all, who would argue that the government doesn’t have to follow it’s own rules. After that, the bill would stop the government from using the same means that the existing large companies are already using to ensure that they have a viable business.

  9. […] from getting access to broadband stimulus funds. In response, local city officials have launched a new website and FAQ arguing against the bills. This IndyWeek report on the Wilson network is a must read, and […]

  10. you should post this to the http://consumerist.com/

    Shoppers byte back.

  11. […] from getting access to broadband stimulus funds. In response, local city officials have launched a new website and FAQ arguing against the bills. This IndyWeek report on the Wilson network is a must read, and […]

  12. I live just outside of Wilson and, although I don’t have the luxury of broadband, I would like to help your cause. I am morbidly disgusted that this case even made it to the senate and house. It’s getting harder and harder to live in this country nowadays with greedy and anti-customer corporations. I really want to hear a response from the opposition as to why city residents can not enjoy a city amenity. Does this now open the door for new trash collectors to come and complain that they have to fight against the city for business? Come on, this is ridiculous! The city of Wilson has made the very best move for their residents. I congratulate every person responsible for taking care of the citizens.
    What can I do to help?


  13. Brian,

    I see in the FAQ that the city isn’t funding the project with tax dollars, but via bonds. Not sure exactly how that works, but don’t you end up using tax dollars to pay off the bonds?

    Anyway, I fully support what you guys are doing and hope that you’re able to continue to do so!

  14. I think Wilson should reach out to other broadband providers to see how interested they’d be in putting an office in your town. Maybe negotiate with them to help fund the construction cost of the building/infrastructure. Make it known that 4000+ people are planning to boycott any TW/embarq services because they complain to the government to help them crush any startup competition. At an average of $35 a month for each person, that’s $1.68m a year they’d be losing from your city. Surely nothing to sneeze at.

    In the end it’s just another reason why I’m looking to get out from under TW for my broadband. I long ago switched to DirecTV and I feel like a prince when dealing with them compared to TWC support/customer service.

    I hope the best for you guys in Wilson. I pray I’m proven wrong, but I fully expect the corrupt, greedy and ignorant government entities to pass this bill and shut you guys down. However, if this bill dies, and you’re allowed to keep providing the ability for your citizens to co-op their own broadband access, then you’ll no doubt spark an interest from other cities and private startuyp companies to do the same thing. I’ve got my fingers crossed for you!

  15. Opps. Typo. 3000+, not 4000+. Didn’t mean to grow your city by surprise 🙂

  16. I think your city is doing what EVERY community should do — make the future accessible by reasonably-priced broadband. It’s outrageous that companies like Time Warner and Embarq feel they’re entitled to be the only games in town and quash community services with ill-conceived laws.

    What ever happened to honest-to-goodness competition? Why would Wilson (or any city) need to provide their own broadband solutions if TW and Embarq provided reasonable and competitive solutions?

    Obviously it’s not cost related if the city can do it, then so can large national corporations. Corporate lobbying offends the sensible.

  17. One this is for sure, the government has no business running over voters for the sake of their special interests. It’s a crying shame. I hope this thing works out for the consumer.

    I’ll contact the state lawmakers with my opinion.

  18. I think what you’ve done with Greenlight is fantastic. I live in Rochester, NY, where Time Warner recently tried to implement a metered service plan with ridiculously low bandwidth caps because they could – we have no serious competition like Verizon FIOS (locked out by the local phone company), and DSL is not available everywhere and slower. Thanks to the public outcry and lobbying our Congressman and Senator, we defeated this plan for the time being, but it was a close call. I would urge you to do the same, contact your local representatives and television stations to bring this issue to light and fight back.

  19. Hey guys, I just wanted to let you know that you guys are in the right, you are doing a good job and to never get discouraged! You are true patriots and true Americans fighting corporations to improve your community. The world needs more people like you in it! I will write my NC legislatures and demand that they support you guys also. Good luck and don’t give up!

  20. I truely love this idea and definitely support your city’s effort. US broadband is actually narrow and expensive compare to other countries thanks to greedy ISP’s, especially cable companies. I hope one day we can all enjoy this, at reasonable cost, not a rip off.

    I support you!

  21. Keep up the great work. Let’s hope this spreads and makes it to other cities (Asheville!).

  22. More power to you Brian and your community. I live in Idaho and am fed up high priced Internet here. And as for the restriction that will “Prohibit cities from moving money between broadband and other divisions.”, I think they are used to prohibiting moving money to better their quality of service and instead line their pockets.

  23. I really hope you guys win. The broadband monopoly is very bad in this country. It is time the public eyes were opened to the fact that there are viable alternatives to the big ISPs.

  24. It is innovative ideas that revolutionize both government and commerce. I’ll be writing a letter on your behalf.

  25. […] city, has blasted the move, launching a new blog and urging the state government to reject the initiative.  Writes Brian Bowman, the city’s […]

  26. We certainly feel your pain up here in Canada. Our independent providers face the threat of usage based billing, which could raise internet bills to by up to 60% and lower download limits (caps) to 60GB a month. All thanks to one greedy, monopolistic company named Bell Canada.

    Good luck with your fight, we’re rooting for you!

  27. […] – DailyTech articleRead – Greenlight home pageRead – Save NC Broadband […]

  28. […] – DailyTech articleRead – Greenlight home pageRead – Save NC Broadband […]

  29. […] – DailyTech articleRead – Greenlight home pageRead – Save NC Broadband […]

  30. Have your local government reached out to your elected representatives to support the services that you want? I too want it to work out and not leave our choices locked out by monopolizing TWC.

    I’ve also responded to their efforts on providing tiered networking by writing to the NY congressman who introduced the bill and my own state representative.

  31. […] – DailyTech articleRead – Greenlight home pageRead – Save NC Broadband […]

  32. Hello! Glad to find this page. I’ve emailed both my house rep and senator in my districts about these bills.

    I’ve also submitted a link to this site, to newraleigh.com and gogoraleigh.com to see if we can get some more coverage and awareness! 🙂


  33. […] left for these behemoths? [Thanks, William] Read – DailyTech article Read – Greenlight home page Read – Save NC Broadband blog nice to see there is some competition going on. Especially since the […]

  34. […] left for these behemoths?[Thanks, William]Read – DailyTech articleRead – Greenlight home pageRead – Save NC Broadband blogFiled under: NetworkingTime Warner and Embarq can’t compete with city-owned […]

  35. […] left for these behemoths?[Thanks, William]Read – DailyTech articleRead – Greenlight home pageRead – Save NC Broadband blogFiled under: NetworkingTime Warner and Embarq can’t compete with city-owned […]

  36. […] left for these behemoths?[Thanks, William]Read – DailyTech articleRead – Greenlight home pageRead – Save NC Broadband blogFiled under: NetworkingTime Warner and Embarq can’t compete with city-owned […]

  37. […] left for these behemoths?[Thanks, William]Read – DailyTech articleRead – Greenlight home pageRead – Save NC Broadband blogFiled under: NetworkingTime Warner and Embarq can’t compete with city-owned […]

  38. […] left for these behemoths?[Thanks, William]Read – DailyTech articleRead – Greenlight home pageRead – Save NC Broadband blogFiled under: NetworkingTime Warner and Embarq can’t compete with city-owned […]

  39. […] – DailyTech articleRead – Greenlight home pageRead – Save NC Broadband […]

  40. Rooting for you from Los Angeles.
    Good job fighting for a free market! I know artists and filmmakers out here who’d sell their firstborn for the kind of service you’re providing so cheaply.


  41. […] left for these behemoths?[Thanks, William]Read – DailyTech articleRead – Greenlight home pageRead – Save NC Broadband blogFiled under: NetworkingTime Warner and Embarq can’t compete with city-owned […]

  42. […] left for these behemoths?[Thanks, William]Read – DailyTech articleRead – Greenlight home pageRead – Save NC Broadband blogFiled under: NetworkingTime Warner and Embarq can’t compete with city-owned […]

  43. San Francisco’s routing for you. I’m sick and tired of one or two companies being the ONLY option for major metropolitan areas (or any area for that matter). For $35 I’m SUPPOSED to get “up to 12 Mbps but it’s more like 600 Kbps on a good day. I’ll be at home during around oh say noonish and I’ll do a random bandwidth test which usually comes in around 300-400 Kbps… good thing I’m paying at an introductory rate, can’t wait until it jumps to $50 a month!

    With no real competition (AT&T DSL isn’t an option for me as I would have to get a phone line plus the service which = pointless) they continue to raise prices and the service constantly gets slower and less reliable. Oh and customer service is… wait, can you call not helping someone “service”? I think not… but I digress, California’s pulling for you!

  44. […] left for these behemoths?[Thanks, William]Read – DailyTech articleRead – Greenlight home pageRead – Save NC Broadband blogFiled under: NetworkingTime Warner and Embarq can’t compete with city-owned […]

  45. Greenlight rules. I wish it was over here in California. Keep it up guys. I hope those bills get shot down quickly.

  46. […] left for these behemoths?[Thanks, William]Read – DailyTech articleRead – Greenlight home pageRead – Save NC Broadband blogFiled under: NetworkingTime Warner and Embarq can’t compete with city-owned […]

  47. This is fantastic, Brian! I lived in Wilson for 2 years while attending medical school at ECU (my wife was working in Raleigh) and am sorry to have missed this! I live in Morrisville now and we have nothing that can compare with this! Keep it up! I hope that you inspire other local municipalities to provide similar service!

  48. […] – DailyTech articleRead – Greenlight home pageRead – Save NC Broadband […]

  49. Read the news online, the city should lobby rigorously, do some kind of fund raiser page or event on the web to fund the lobbying. Ask engadget.com, to report on the progress. Millions of us read that blog, and I would be happy to donate to that cause particular, to stop time warner.

  50. Congrats to Brian, the Mayor, and all other city officals who had the forward thinking and guts to stand up to the duopolies. I wish all towns would do this as municipal owned networks are the absolute best solution to our current and future internet issues.

  51. I live in Rochester NY and are not surprised by TW’s games. Keep up your fight. Call you local rep’s… They will listen. They have to. Wilson, NC is a model of what the future can hold in the US.

  52. Good luck! Time Warner displays the ultimate anti-market cowardice in trying to hide behind government regulations in an effort to reduce competition. Shame.

  53. Who do we write to to complain about this massive injustice?

  54. Let the citizens take care of themselves. Who cares what the cable companies want. Forcing the people to buy services from a certain company can’t possibly be legal. I hope TWC and Embarq lose their butts in this. I also hope more cities follow this model!

  55. […] more: DailyTech – Time Warner, Embarq Fight to Outlaw 100 Mbps Community Broadband in Wilson, NC About […]

  56. […] at a much lower rate as well. As posted on engadget the clear winner in pure speed is Wilson’s Greenlight 100Mbps however even the lowest tiered option of 10Mbps is over $20 cheaper than Tiime Warner (BTW […]

  57. I did our own post on this topic as well as posted out to Twitter and such so hopefully these Bills die like they should.


    http://snurl.com/gi2jy [www_bitsofws_com]

  58. […] – DailyTech articleRead – Greenlight home pageRead – Save NC Broadband […]

  59. Hi, I hope you are able to fight off this attempt by TWC and Embarq to squash a good thing for your city. My hometown got disgusted with waiting for Charter to upgrade their network so, ultimately the city built their own fiber network. Luckily Charter never threatened with a law suit or filed one. So again, good luck

  60. Hope against hope that you guys win this battle.

    The silver lining? When the votes are taken in your legislature, you will be able to see exactly which politicians are corrupt.

  61. Good Luck! This is an amazing program! If the current service providers can’t service the community the people should have the right to take their business anywhere they choose.

    Your program should be backed by President Obama’s infrastructure plan in other communities and anyone working to block you ridiculous.

  62. I’d love to find out about how to get something like this started down here in Union County. Windstream & TWC are our only choices (and lousy, expensive ones at that!) Considering our tax base in the western portion of the county, and the slow expansion eastward, we could have it paid for in no time!

  63. […] the Public Affairs Manager for the City of Wilson started a “Save NC Broadband” site and is trying to get people to pick up arms again. Let me tell ya, this is not a good […]

  64. I don’t live anywhere near Wilson, NC, but I read about this on Engadget. Keep up the good fight, sir. If only more places took the kind of initiative you’re taking.

    If this DOES get shut down, could you spin it off into something resembling a utility cooperative, so it still offers services at-cost but isn’t actually run by the government?

  65. I think its embarrassing that TW can’t provide a better service and when greenlight comes in and blows them out with a better service and prices all they can do is complaint. TW is getting so bad. First the bandwidth cap and now this. I was thinking of moving over from ATT to TW but i think i will stay with ATT. I was really days away from setting up my service with TW. I hope greenlight wins this. I would like to see more cities (including mine) doing stuff like this. If a corp. cant take care of an area’s needs like bandwidth speed, i see it as the city’s responsibility to take care of its residents. If you need any support from me in California, let me know.

  66. […] William] Read – DailyTech articleRead – Greenlight home pageRead – Save NC Broadband blog Filed under: […]

  67. The part of the bill that forbids charging less than cost is reasonable. This is already illegal for private companies.

    The other part where you are not allowed to pay dividends to your primary stockholder (using profits to pay other government expenses) is just plain stupid. Can you imagine the uproar if TWC was informed that these regulations would apply to all providers and that they would have to operate in NC as a non-profit and would not be legally permitted to use their income for any purpose other than operations in NC. No dividends for stockholders, no profits transferred to holding companies…

    Hmm might be a good idea to add an amendment to these bills to make these restrictions apply to all ISPs operating in NC 😛

    Personally I see Wilson as being among the first in implementing the future of internet service.

    Thank you for showing the rest of the country how to do it 😀

  68. Good for you. Time Warner has always been and is even more so nowadays, a shady character. They, as well as others, offer you slow internet, you ask for faster internet, they don’t give it to you because it’s not “profitable” for them, so you go out and make your own to offer to your residents. GENIUS and truly deserving of merit.

  69. […] – DailyTech articleRead – Greenlight home pageRead – Save NC Broadband […]

  70. I am not from your area but I find it great what your city has done.If Time Warner or any other provider can’t or want try to compete with the city prices then let them get out of the area!It’s time the people take a stand aganist Gov. and big business trying to run our lives.


  71. I hadn’t heard of Greenlight before this bill appeared, but I am very glad that the monopolizing heads at TWC are going to get some flak about this. I believe Greenlight is an excellent project that shows the fesability of a community owned and operated fiber system, and I would love to see other communities roll out similar systems. I used to work for a WISP, and we were in talks for a few months about providing our town with broadband, but nothing nearly as ambitious as Greenlight. Good luck!

  72. Wow, hearing about developments like this makes me proud of my home state! It’s great the Wilson city leaders had the audacity to listen to its citizens’ concerns and the wherewithal to actually remedy the problem voiced by so many; kudos to them! I’d expect this type of action to take place more in my current state of Cali as it seems to take the lead on progressive actions such as this but much credit to where it’s due. I hope the current round of dirty-handed bills will be shut down like the previous round(s) as monopolistic protectionism is inherently evil. NC, and hopefully this spreads to the likes of places everywhere else, FTW!

  73. […] – DailyTech articleRead – Greenlight home pageRead – Save NC Broadband […]

  74. Hi,

    I applaud you and your city’s efforts. This is an important issue that transcends state lines so I think it might be a good idea to ask all citizens of the U.S. that agree with your efforts to make it known to your state legislatures. Just tell me who to call or e-mail, and I’ll do it.

  75. Greenlight sounds like a great program. I wish there were something like that in Raleigh. Your blog makes me feel guilty for supporting TWC by subscribing to roadrunner.

  76. Keep the fight going. There needs to be more competition when Internet access is involved…

    Good luck

  77. I think what you’re doing is wonderfully progressive and visionary! Best wishes in fighting the self promoting corporate interests.

  78. Hello, I live in Winston-Salem and have written letters to my senator and congressman requesting their opposition to this bill.

  79. I am personally sick of paying 49 bucks a month for a internet connection that I have pings exceeding 1000ms to yahoo.com during busy times. I wish we had something like this in Matthews, NC.

  80. This is a wonderful change, not dealing with the cable company’s? Get better service? I wish my community (Houston) would jump on board to offer better cheaper high speed internet. I hate doing business with the big cable providers. Fight the good fight and I hope you can keep the greedy members of your state from taking away a good thing.

  81. I live in Raleigh, NC and would love to have a community driven system available, along with most of the people here! Is there anyway that we can help fight this bill?

  82. I would love to see Greenlight come to Raleigh. TWC is only going to get worse, we need to do more to take care of this problem now since its a hot topic. I would like to see law being passed to offer internet to everyone for cheaper, not the other way around.

  83. Brian, I’m glad I read this. I actually just finished writing letters to my house and senate reps, as I feel that all cities in NC should be free to provide services similar to this. Now if only I lived in Wilson!

  84. Heard about your case on Engadget.com. I’m no law expert, but these bills sound unconstitutional to me. Too many of these local cable companies have a monopoly in their area, I think its really awesome that your city is doing what its doing to combat that. Hopefully many others will follow your example and the cable companies will actually have to COMPETE again (imagine that!)

  85. I didn’t read all the responses, but if TWC is having problems with Greenlight as a city run service, convert Greenlight to a utility or a profit/nonprofit corporation that is run by the citizens.

    This would effectively create an end run around what TWC is trying to do.

    Just my 6 cents worth (2 cents adjusted for the price of TWC services)

  86. Great plan. Horrid that the government want to stifle innovation. Fight the good fight!

  87. Keep fighting the good fight. I, along with millions of others, are pulling for you.

    God Bless America!

  88. This is the coolest thing I have heard in a while. I am very impressed and I wish that something like this would be done in my community. If there is anything I can do to help let me know.

  89. I am a citizen of Kansas and I currently live in Mexico City, but I wish there were something I could do to help your cause. Your success is success for the entire country. Keep fighting! Daniel

  90. Good for ya, boys! I truly wish we had the same down here in Red Springs (also Nawth Ca’lina). Figuring out how to get the links (to the Slashdot article that will make you all world famous, and this page here) to our town manager and town council. I think I’ll make some handouts for the next town meeting.

    Good luck against those Fascists in the Legislature. I’m afraid the fix is in (and TWC and Embarq have lots more money than you, I fear). But I do wish you luck.

  91. I support you in your efforts to build a city ISP. The citizens of your city have the right to create a public service. Buy local!

  92. I am very happy that something like Greenlight exists out there today. TWC should be ashamed of itself for trying to stop something that is so beneficial to the local community.

    I would be more than happy to fill out a petition or something to stop TWC in its tracks!

    Good Luck & Take Care!

  93. If this passes, just convert it into a private corporation or a utility. This would result in TWB wasting all of their money on lobbying.

  94. This is a great service. Don’t give up the fight.

  95. Hi,

    this is fabulous. However I only found one or two providers of bandwidth of that speed available in my state. Could you possibly email me who the contact is for providing your internet backbone, so that I could see if they provide in my area as well?

    Email address should be given within this post’s contact or comment on my blog. Thanks.

  96. I had no idea you guys existed until I read about you this morning on Engadget. I wish you guys the best, not least of which because if you’re allowed to succeed, maybe Austin will follow suit. Here’s hoping… (And obviously this is why Time Warner wants to kill Greenlight quickly — before this gets out of hand.)

  97. I’m glad that your community has taken the initiative to develop the infrastructure it needs. Now if only Raleigh would do something like this too!

    It might be a good idea to include tips and instructions showing how the people can most effectively get involved with stopping the new law.

  98. Brian,

    Kudos for you and the city of Wilson for showing the rest of the US the power of local government. Hang in there!

    Also, have you considered using social networking to get your message across. Facebook, myspace, twitter, and etc are powerful tools for getting your message/story to the rest of the world. I think many of us can understand where greenlight is coming from.

    -Chris Lehmann

  99. I applaud your efforts and wish you the best of luck. It’s been a long time coming when someone stood up to the cable companies and put them in their place. I’m tired of paying a high price for inadequate services. If other contries can do it, then so can we.

  100. Congrats on the service, I have emailed my representatives in the house and senate to work towards killing the bills.

  101. Awesome idea and public service! Start planning your response now in case they pass the measure. Target anyone who votes yes in the next election

  102. This is one of the greatest ideas a City Government has ever implemented. I commend you on it. It is a great example of what a city can do for its people. It almost makes me want to move there!

    I live in Cliffside Park NJ and work in New York City, here we have Time Warner, Verizon Fios and….thats about it. Both of their fees are outrageous and I have no alternative but to just deal with it. Things are also getting worse as you know with Time Warner testing “metered bandwidth.”

    Monopolies like this are what is really “anti-competitive.” It’s very hypocritical of them to be pulling something like this. I hope Green Light sets an example for the rest of the country and creates suitable alternatives to the current choices (or lack thereof) in our Cable,Internet, and Phone options. I wish you the best of luck!

  103. I wish I lived in your town, so that I could help. As an NC resident I hope you and fellow Wilsonions are taking action. We are entitled to free and fair competition.

    If you havent already done so, start a petition. See what committee the bill came from and see if you can dig up some dirt on the committee chair. I know there are plenty of backdoor dealings going on (Remember Jim Black and his mandate to have all children get eye screenings).

    Let me know if I can help in any way.

  104. Your community has taken responsibility to provide a service a large company fails to, either because it can’t or it won’t. Either way they should fail. I want to start my own community ISP. I have TWC right now and they can’t deliver the goods…but I have no choice but them. They are already planning to make prices even worse by going with a “pay by byte” plan. If this comes to pass I am moving to your town.

  105. This is awesome! Best of luck. F the cable companies, such an unfair oligopoly.

  106. I read about this on Consumerist.com.

    I must say I am very impressed by Wilson, NC’s initiative in creating this service for its residents. I am quite jealous, and would love to see this come to other cities (how about EVERY city??). It’d be a great new source of revenue, that’s for sure. Probably create a few jobs, too.

    You certainly have my support in this fight! I’ll be following this blog…

  107. quote:
    “So, Wilson citizens can’t expect to see any of their subscription fees go to pave streets and build basketball courts. Does that make sense?”

    Brian, I find this a bit dishonest, because the intent of this clause is to clearly prohibit municipalities from subsidizing broadband from their general funds, and not to prohibit ‘excess broadband profits’ from going to other municipal expenditures. I think you’re smart enough to know that.

    Let me be clear: I have no love for telecom monopolies. I have even less love for public-sector monopolies. I’m sure your group is doing great things but you have to look at what the situation will be 10 years out. Greenlight will be just another public sector department providing a monopoly service doing what they do rather poorly. And, greenlight will be the ONLY choice for Wilson. The problem with public-sector service monopolies is that they are impossible to be rid of once entrenched. Look at recreational services in pro-union democrat states. Private-sector ice/hockey rinks? They don’t exist. All provided by the government. There are many similar examples.

    As a tech worker, I love the idea of cheap broadband. As a taxpayer, I fear the creation of yet another fiefdom, no matter the commitment of the people who are currently working there now.

    I don’t think making municipality-provided broadband illegal is a good idea either. Probably a better idea for all is to do a better job regulating the telecoms. Careful what you wish for: someday the support guy you call at greenlight will be the cousin of the Alderman who got him the job on some ‘youth-job-creation’ program who can’t even spell and has absolutely no fear of ever getting fired.

    That’s public-sector for you……

    Would it just be easier to convert Greenlight to a citizen run corporation or make it a utility?

    I am not a legal eagle on NC law, but I would think it wouldn’t be that difficult to convert to a citizen run profit/nonprofit corporation and then TWC is effectively screwed.

    That is exactly what they did in Wadsworth, where i used to live. They made it a utility. TWC bitched and the town said screw you. I worked as a night auditor back then in 2000 and told our management we should switch because it would be cheaper. We looked into and did. TWC threaten us with litigation, we told them to go fornicate with goat and our lawyers took care of it. This is ridiculous when a private company is stifling competition. More communities need to do this. If they would not have wasted the 250 billion given to them by Clinton, they would be having this issue.

  109. Start a petition:
    See how many others feel as you do.
    The cable/telco duopoly have no interest in providing fast internet access; if they did you might not get their phone or cable service anymore.
    We should do like Japan and S.Korea: build infrastructure to the curb, and share cost amongst all providers.

    “My friend Ira, who lives in Yokohama, Japan, has 100-megabit-per-second fiber-optic Internet service in his home. This costs Ira less than $30 per month. What the heck is up with that?”

    They all have access to the same infrastructure, and the cost is the same, so eventually each provider provides the same service at the same low cost, and then they have to compete on the only differentiator left:
    customer service.

  110. I have a quick question. I agree that the city should be able to use its profits in whatever ways it deems fit (that’s just common sense).

    I fail to see, however, what is so insidious about the second bullet point in your post, which is a prohibition of a public entity from providing a service that competes with the private industry at a loss (which would basically mean a taxpayer subsidy). That feels right to me. Private businesses can’t operate at a loss (at least not indefinitely), or they fail. If a municipality is going to compete with a private business on broadband (and, don’t get me wrong, I think it’s fine to do that!), they should have to do so under a similar restriction.

    You state in your post that the city of Wilson doesn’t do this. Good for you. Given this, though, I don’t see why it’s a concept to oppose in principle.

    I’m no fan of telecom companies; I’m just trying to approach the matter in a fair and consistent way.

  111. As one of the Raleigh residents who have no choices other than Time Warner for cable TV (until AT&T’s service is available), I think this is the best solution anyone has created for the effective Monopoly of the Cable Companies. I will definitely be wrtiting our representatives with my thoughts on this bill.

  112. Makes me want to move there! You know Charlotte would never be so proactive, they’re at the mercy of TWC. I’d love to have more than 1 choice for internet

  113. Go Greenlight! Just wanted to show some support. TWC and all of the other greedy corporations need to be put in their place!

  114. I read about this today on the consumerist. Good luck with your fight. As an NC resident rest assured I’m emailing all of my elected officials today!!

  115. This is fantastic. I hope other cities and towns start doing this too. Time Warner is so greedy and provides such terrible service- I am contacting my congressperson right now to tell them I don’t want TWC’s legislation to pass.

  116. Just wanted to say “Good Job” and to encourage you to continue in your services. It’s great to see a city take things into their own hands as you have a right to do. Continue in the fight to pave way for more to follow. You’re making a difference!

  117. Found your story on Slashdot.org. This competition is essential to providing under served areas a way forward with an absolutely essential service. Good hunting to you, Greenlight!

  118. I’m way out here on the left coast (San Jose, CA), but I support and applaud your efforts. I think it’s time to mobilize NC citizens to replace in the next election “Representatives” Harrell, Jones, Avila, and Tillis, and State Senators Hoyle and Clary (the sponsors of the two bills), as they obviously are not doing their job of representing their people. Good luck!

  119. You are doing a great job. We must stop these media giants from destroying innovation and creating much needed competition.

    I am onboard and supporting this cause.

    Seen on Slashdot


  120. […] city, has blasted the move, launching a new blog and urging the state government to reject the initiative.  Writes Brian Bowman, the city’s […]

  121. I hope TWC gets a bloody nose in this fight, and that other communities can benefit from your work. I’m willing to listen to TWC’s side of this, but I’m betting its just going to be a bunch of corporate speak and excuses. Good luck Brian, Wilson, and NC!

  122. Many cheers for what you are doing for your community. I am a big supporter of public utilities–my home town has public power–and a public ISP as a utility for the community is a wonderful idea to provide affordable and *very* fast internet connections to its people.

    I hope Greenlight is the precedence for a broadband expansion across the US, rather than an awful law proposed by a greedy company.

  123. You have my full support on this matter. I am in total disagreement with the cable companies having monopolies in certain areas. The only company around me that is doing something about it is Verizon Fios. And this is fairly obvious with all the optimum/cablevision commercials bashing “phone company” high speed internet.

    It’s just unfortunate you guys are so small and not untouchable like a big company such as Verizon.

    If they can’t stop Fios from coming into a neighborhood, I don’t see why these other companies have the right to stop a local startup such as yours.

    This is in no way fair competition and shame to the government officials that are voting for this. If they can’t bring in the service, then someone else will. Why doesn’t the ISP’s just build out their infrastructure to compete? Because if they do, they would still charge an arm and leg which no one would pay for. So what’s the remedy? Appeal to the state to shut them down? That’s ridiculous!

    Also, how does this bill/law benefit anyone else besides the cable companies? I don’t see how this getting passed will be for the better good of the community.

  124. Excellent work! We need more such projects. Good luck keeping your service going!

  125. Best wishes to the city of Wilson in your fight against the cable monopolies. I live in Chapel Hill and will be watching very closely, especially with the recent introduction of Time Warner bandwidth caps into the Greensboro area.

    We need valid alternatives to telecom giants everywhere. While I would need to find out about their HD offerings, the Greenlight project is extremely intriguing.

  126. I’m 100% behind you guys on this one, the cable companies are not serving the needs of the users through bandwidth caps and throttling, while you step up to serve these needs.

    If I were the cable company, I’d be bribing congress too to get rid of you guys. Your existence means that companies will have to compete, omg!

    So again, you > TWC, and if they get their way, all it proves is that they have more lobbyists and money to throw at making sure you don’t succeed.

  127. You have turned out a great product for a superb price, however I have to disagree with the city owning the network. There was no reason not to form a commercial entity with the same exact business plan and product. Soon enough the wealthy will be paying for the poor’s internet connection.

    That being said, I wish there was a company in my area offering that kind of amazing service and price.

  128. This issue has been picked up by the consumerist.com, and I have to say I am quite appalled at the cable companies involved in this dispute. Of course they can compete against Greenlight, they just dont want to. I think Greenlight is an amazing idea, and I just wish more cities would do this. I do not live in NC, or else I would be writing letters like crazy showing support for Greenlight.

    I wish you the best of luck with this endeavor.

  129. Brian, I wish you and all the folks in the Wilson City government the best of luck!!!! Such a wonderful service to provide your residents with a choice and what a choice it is, it lays down the gauntlet to the local duopoly providers.

    I’ve read a few responses above about possibly funding the roll-out by putting out municipal bonds. I think that bonds will be paid back by people subscribing to the Greenlight service. Heck I would donate $10.00 just to help pay the bonds down, for such an innovative service and I live in NY. (Put something up!!!)

    I do not think that the city of Wilson is providing broadband service at a loss, that taxpayers will have to pick up the tab for, unlike so many other boondoggles out there. They are charging what it costs to provide service, support, and infrastructure, and maybe a little extra, but not with the huge profit margins that duopoly wants for subpar service.

  130. I just wanted to let you know that I’m one of your fellow North Carolinians, and I’m going to email all my reps about these bills. I wish I could say I can’t believe they’re even voting on this, but I’m not really surprised.

    If anybody else from NC reads this, please contact your representatives. Preaching to the choir won’t help; we have to tell it to the one’s whose responsibility it is to make the laws the WE want.

    If time warner and embarq don’t like it, they can go somewhere else.

  131. Yet another situation of appalling practices by Cable & Telephone companies to restrict user access & keep money in their pockets.

    Good Luck with your crusade, and lets hope that this spurs some -real- T-Comm reform somewhere.

  132. I just wanted to wish you good luck in your fight against these outrageous bills that are only serving the corporate interests of NC and sweeping the people under the rug.
    I implore those with a vote in NC to write/contact you reps to stop these bills.
    I wish I could do something to stop the legislation but I am a SC resident. Ee too are sick of being gouged for TV/internet/phone prices, especially down here in the HHI area!
    Thanks for fighting the good fight!!!!

  133. Spreading the word down here in Wilmington. Thanks for all your efforts.

  134. Those of us over at StoptheCap! who helped drive back Time Warner on their usage cap experiment, are now turning our attention to Wilson and all such municipal networks which can deliver the services residents and small business want, but cannot get from the incumbent providers.

    We will be asking our readers in North Carolina, and there are many thousands of them because Time Warner wanted to experiment on the Triad, to begin contacting their elected officials.

    Monopolies and duopolies that bypass the least competitive markets for technology upgrades should not be surprised when communities decide to do it themselves.

  135. Hi Brian,

    I’m glad your local government took the initiative and made this happen. It’s unfortunate that the cable company is trying to shut it down.

    You did everything right. You asked for better lines, and they refused. You put it out to vote, and it passed. You laid the cables and now provide really reasonable service to your residents.

    For a long time, here in Pawtucket RI we only had a single choice for cable. Cox. I don’t love Cox, but I don’t hate them – the service is good, but it’s very expensive. Verizon has recently come to town, and although the prices aren’t better, the quality and speed are much better.

    So in the case of Pawtucket, it wouldn’t make sense to have the city put in its own network. But in your case, it was justified.

    Good work.

  136. As a Raleigh resident, I am green with envy. Here’s hoping that these bills are killed quickly, and that the rest of NC can soon follow in Wilson’s footsteps on this.

  137. This is the kind of progressive thinking and drive that our great country possessed in bountiful measure around the turn of the century. More power to you, good luck in your campaign. I hope that more and more cities do this.

  138. We’re rooting for you up in Minnesota as well. The idea that the cable company ‘couldn’t possibly compete’ is a farce; if they want to compete, they should offer decent service.

  139. Not from NC, but hell yeah – fight the fight! You’ve got support all over.

  140. We got ComCastrated here in central Illinois two years ago and since then my bill has doubled and my line speed has been cut in half. Now they are telling me if I don’t abandon my analog TV (which was required for me to get internet service because I live in an apartment building) and switch to a higher priced digital service (which requires a proprietary box rental, crippling my Tivo) they will disconnect me. Once I finally am forced switch over I’m going to get even less programming and service while paying over three times my original bill. And that doesn’t consider the new bandwidth caps and usage spying they want to do. It’s too late for us, but I hope things work out for you.

  141. You should really provide direct links to contact your congress persons to stop this type of thing. I know there are services which do such things: http://capitoladvantage.com/whoweare/

  142. You have my full support. Time Warner is also trying to push tiered internet on the consumers are make it even worse and more expensive!


    I would love to donate to your cause to try and push for better internet. Not the garbage they offer us.

    Always have to remember, they are cable companies first, internet providers second.

  143. The cable companies seem to be making the same argument that health insurance companies are making, that they can’t compete with government services. Yet the argument that was made for privatizing many public utilities in the past (electricity, telephone) was that private companies can do it better than the government. Which is it?

    If the government can provide better, cheaper service than private entities, it should be allowed to do so. Let the consumer vote with their subscription dollars. Isn’t that how capitalism is supposed to work? The consumer will use their purchasing power to determine which businesses succeed or fail. Sounds like these private companies are doomed to fail – unless, of course, they succeed in gaming the system.

  144. I only hope you publish a how-to on this so it can spread. Competition is vital, as is community based business, and you folks are doing both.


  145. It’s ridiculous that Time Warner expects to be handed a virtual monopoly on cable. The USPS competes with UPS, FedEx, and other carriers, and it hasn’t hurt their bottom line.

    What Wilson has done is commendable – in an era where the internet and telecommunications is more important than ever, what consumers need is more competition, not less. That the people of Wilson have formed their own service to address cost issues is commendable.

    I applaud your efforts, and hope that Wilson wins this battle. Not because Time Warner is wrong, but because you are right.

  146. I don’t live in NC but I believe this situation transcends all borders. Never give up, do whatever you have to to keep them from driving you under, whether it’s becoming a utility or anything else. I’m sure they dream of a corporate globalized monopoly, to which we all must bow down to and throw our cash at, or face the firing squad. It’s the oppression of great companies like Greenlight which stifles fair competition and in turn arrests true innovation.

    Remember the words of Jimmy Cliff: “[They] are trying to keep me down, trying to drive me underground……but I’d rather be a free man in my grave Than living as a puppet or a slave”

    Keep hope alive!

  147. Good luck!

    You’ve done nothing wrong and it’s legal. I hope Time Warner fails big time.

  148. Over here just across the border in Rock Hill, SC we have the opposite problem. A local monopoly(Comporium Communications) and the city government in bed with them. Not only are we locked into high prices and horrible service, but the city just sits back and takes it. On top of that, nobody will come in to provide competition because Comporium owns all of the pipe. It’s infuriating.

    Really wish Rock Hill was more like your city. Fight on. Hope the NC government comes to their senses.

  149. Hey,

    I want to echo all of the other responses I’ve skimmed so far – keep up the good fight!

    Better service for a cheaper price – those companies should start being worried. That, or they can start charging less and doing better so there wouldn’t be a problem in the first place. Either way, love what you are doing, keep it up!

  150. I wish more towns would do this. The Internet to the public is still in it’s infancy. We see more and more colleges becoming online. We see services like netflix and perhaps others offering programming online. Soon adobe will have their flash player put into HD televisions to view content online. With everything moving online it is no wonder why these businesses are trying to have laws passed by paying off congressmen (oops I mean lobbying). They want to squeeze every penny out of everyone they can. Comcast got into trouble before by filtering traffic. Why can the business offer a competive product? Since they can compete, they want to change the laws? If more towns did what your town did, we would be much better off in this country.

  151. @chris – Your arguments sound good and I can certainly imagine 10 years down the road when Greenlight becomes some bloated bureaucracy stuffed with union-protected relatives of city Aldermen. However, there are examples of government service that operate efficiently, cover their own costs and aren’t rife with abuse. For example, the US Postal Service provides ubiquitous service at a reasonable price and has been a major factor in the economic success of this country over the last 100 years. Of course if the USPS was as forward thinking as Wilson NC, then they would have made the internet instead of DARPA.

    So the optimist in me wants to believe Greenlight will continue to operate as well the USPS and there will still be plenty of room for private sector competition (ala. FedEx and UPS). However, the cynic in me agrees that waste, fraud and abuse are sure to follow.

    It sounds like Japan has a better model. The state should install fiber to the curb and then auction bandwidth to private ventures similar to the way the FCC auctions frequencies to wireless companies.

    How ever it unfolds, I certainly wish I could get TV/phone/net for $99/mo.

  152. I’m basically in Cincinnati OH.. Northern Kentucky technically.

    I applaud you for doing what the GOVERNMENT should be doing.

    We have been wasting all of our cash bailing out poorly managed and greedy corporations… where the hell is my infrastructure?

    3rd world nations… are CATCHING US on the internet.

    Our highway system is not in the best of shape.

    Some cities have an all but useless police force.

    Some cities have only volunteer firefighters.

    But my tax money is going to pay out bonuses for retards that can’t manage a company.

    Anyone ever spend time thinking about how much less taxes we would have to pay if the tax system was simple enough we didn’t need so many IRS agents… and how many people would save $100 by not having to pay a tax company to help them sort it all out?

    What would we do with all those poor useless IRS people? Well.. they can help put out orange construction cones… they can help dig ditches… run fiber cables through tunnels etc. Same thing with out of work auto workers…

    We have a lot of infrastructure we have to do if we want to keep being a first world nation.

    I suggest we fund it by increasing taxes for goods and services done over seas… make it cheaper to employ our own citizens so they can pay taxes rather than collect welfare.

    I know I have digressed a lot but I do feel the fact the government is putting up with such a bogus claim just goes to show how interested they are in infrastructure and/or justice.

  153. This is a wonderful thing and if we did that here in NYC it would be great. Your city has the right price and great service and I applaud the efforts of the city.

    Hearing this story just makes me angry though, because big business always trys to and usually is successful in bullying all the competition with their lobbying. And that is where the problem lies.

    I hope that Wilson stays successful and Time Warner just learns to compete instead of crying they can’t compete. Thats their problem, not Wilson’s

  154. Although I don’t live in North Carolina and can’t offer much in the way of help, you guys in Wilson have my full support!

    It’s time Cable companies are forced to compete instead of relying on their carved-out monopolies in order to force customers into overpriced and under-featured services.

    I live in Alexandria, Va. and Comcast Cable has a similar monopoly. We end up paying inflated prices for terrible service and questionable reliability. Many of the residents in Alexandria live in high-rise buildings that don’t have the option of switching to satellite providers. Comcast prey’s on that situation offering “introductory” rates of $99 for 3/mo. before doubling your bill. They then use some of that money to fund lobbyist groups to ensure their monopolies stay intact. I have dozens of friends who want to at least have the option to switch to Verizon FiOS how simply can’t because Comcast has successfully kept the competition out.

    The thought that a multi-billion dollar monopoly being unable to compete with medium sized town is laughable. More like they don’t feel like giving up their inflated profits.

    As bad as Comcast is, Time Warner seems to be that much worse! Good luck and give ’em hell!

  155. […] Time Warner is pulling together it’s lobbying forces on a bill in the North Carolina legislature that will make it more difficult for other cities to follow suit. […]

  156. […] – DailyTech articleRead – IndyWeek articleRead – Greenlight home pageRead – Save NC Broadband […]

  157. I just wanted to let you know (as if you can get through all these comments), that what your city has done is an inspiration. Please keep up the fight.

    Also, I just contacted someone I know in our local government and inquired about how I can start collecting info on doing this in our town. I think it’s a great move to offer an option to Comcast in our area, where we experience the same issues your town had.

    I will continue to watch how this plays out, and good luck with the struggle! Remember, nothing easy is worth it.

  158. This is incredible. I’ve been wondering for the past few months if it were possible to do exactly what has been done by Greenlight.

    I’m so happy to see that it has already been done, and in my own state.

    Instead of saying “I wish I had this where I live” I’m going to ask:

    What is the next action I can take to get something like Greenlight/FTTH for my community (Statesville, Iredell County, NC/ wherever)?

    What can I do to keep TWC from ruining this opportunity for everyone?

  159. This is disgusting. Here we have a municipal government providing its citizens with a valuable service without demanding payment from those who don’t want it, and corporations want it shut down by law because they’re not willing to compete?

    The next time somebody talks to me about how America is a capitalist country, I’m going to throw this in their faces. Capitalism is about competing to provide a better product, not about bribing legislators to kill off your competition so that you don’t have to improve your products.

  160. […] the broadband portion of the national Stimulus law. The city, has blasted the move, launching a new blog and urging the state government to reject the initiative. Writes Brian Bowman, the city’s Public […]

  161. This is great. Very entrepreneurial idea for a city. You are providing a needed service at a fair price. Good job! Let’s just hope that large companies don’t win with their spokes mouths and lobbyists (the movie “Thank You For Smoking” comes to mind).

  162. Hi Brian, thank you for opening a public discussion on this topic. Information infrastructure is very near and dear to my heart — I’ve been working in Internet software for fifteen years.

    I am a big fan of community ISPs, both Mom & Pops and local government operated. I am not sure I understand, however, how this bill makes community ISPs not work.

    You mention two points of the bill, and that Greenlight does not violate those provisions:

    * Prohibit cities from moving money…

    Frankly, I love that provision. Money mixing is messy, and leads to skewed public policy.

    * Ban cities from pricing service below…

    OK, maybe I don’t like that policy as much; if a community wants to provide taxpayer funded Internet, why should the state deny them that choice? That said, I do believe in the free market. Where is the harm in allowing the free market to establish the price of Internet service?

    There may be a severe lack of competition in ISPs, which leads to poor price efficiency. Greenlight has solved that by the community creating competition. But if Greenlight is as you say, it is rather an ideal model of the community competing with the traditional ISPs on merit alone. Pure merit based competition seems like a good thing.

    I still think any state-level mandate restricting the choices of the communities is dubious at best — each community should be allowed to make its own decision. But I am curious — do you see these specific provisions as being hostile to projects which operate like Greenlight, or are you focused more on preventing the state from making decisions which rightly belong to local government?

  163. […] Go Go! Wilson, NC! […]

  164. Nice work! Stick it to the monopolies! They are throttling our line speed, you know.. our internet can and should be running much faster than they allow!

  165. I read about this on consumerist.com, and I think greenlight is a fantastic idea. I live in Florida and I’ve been dying for something like this. Don’t let big business push you around. I’m rooting for you!

  166. Thank you for this website. Wilson, NC is setting the right example for the rest of our state.

    I’d like to echo Chris Lehmann’s request/suggestion that you establish a Facebook presence. This would be an easy and effective way to inform and mobilize friends and neighbors.

  167. We keep making noise about something like this in San Francisco, but haven’t been able to get it together yet. I am so dang jealous of you guys…I’m stuck under the thumb of The AT&T. Good luck Brian. Take TWC to task, and make them do the right thing for once in their miserable existence!

    I’ll be forwarding this to our local and state officials as well.

  168. amazing keep it up!!! i recently was able to get out of time warners grasp when a local telephone company installed fiber optic to my apt complex offering 30mbps internet and digital cable for 40 less than my warner bill, which was only 15mbps down 768kbps up. i really hope this idea spreads. competition is the only way for us to get a good service for a descent price, and it seems time warner isn’t up for the challenge. fine with me. cya later.

  169. Brian, thank you for showing us how internet service should be provided for everyone! Better speeds, lower costs, everyone wins!

  170. Uh, are you guys a charter city? In California, the Constitution says that a City that has a charter is outside the jurisdiction of state law. Thus if the City of Los Angeles created a Greenlight broadband company it would not be subject to the jurisdiction of the Public Utilities Code and could charge whatever it wanted. That is California, not NC. You should read your state constitution, the legislature can’t override that.

    Firstly, get political, pass a measure that says this will fund new schools (new roads? who cares). In politics stand behind children or the bible. I’d take the children here. You don’t have a prayer and it is not going to help you guys to sit on your hands.

    Secondly, the bills get sent to committee, so target the committee members home districts and write editorials for newspapers of how they are depriving children of new schools and books by effectively outlawing competition for greedy monopolies. (this freaking works, WTO and the tariffs USA put on steel were quickly gone when the opposing side decided to impose tariffs on companies in Bush’s districts.)

    Thirdly, send flyers to the committee members home district’s constituents explaining that you will expand the service into their area and show the savings, then say their politicians want to outlaw this. (spend out of media budget)

  171. TWC can smell it’s death, and the noise it’ll make rattling its cage will be quite unpleasant for its customers. And anybody living where they operate, apparently. They don’t want to compete because they know their service is lousy. I guess buying off politicians is cheaper than upgrading infrastructure and addressing customer complaints.

  172. Yeah, that’s just what we need…another damn law…that’s the government for you…always dreaming up more laws…and making more outlaws.

    Show me a person who hasn’t broken a law and I’ll show you a liar.

    Funny how the bible is such a small book…

    Funny how there are only ten commandments…

    World’s Smallest Political Quiz is ten questions…

    World’s Real Smallest Political Question is…

    “Should any product or service be provided at gunpoint?”

    The John Galt Solution is the only solution to the mobocracy looter minions!

  173. Bless you for doing this! Fingers crossed that it will rub off on the rest of the country, that we can add this to the New New Deal!

  174. TIME FOR ACTION!!!!
    1. do not fax
    2. specifically mention the bill
    Senate Bill 1004 “Leveling Playing Field”
    3. get personal about its effect on you

    Ty.Harrell@ncleg.net [Wake County]
    Earl.Jones@ncleg.net – [Guilford County]
    Marilyn.Avila@ncleg.net [wake county]
    Thom.Tillis@ncleg.net [Mecklenburg County]

    David.Hoyle@ncleg.net [Gaston] (704) 867-0822
    Debbie.Clary@ncleg.net [Cleveland, Rutherford]

  175. Its funny that the Internet was not created by corporate American but by citizens. It was an open source projected started by universities. Yet we have to pay so much money to these clowns to give us Internet access. i think every city should have its own fiber loop and offer fiber to the house at competitive prices. its about time we get rid of the phone and Internet monopolies in this country. it sad that these corporation’s all ready have there territories and that we are all subject to there pricing.

    • Another thought…

      Phone Access is more of a utility than Broadband Access. I wouldn’t have a problem with this project if say, The town of Wilson decided it would subsidize the cost of Fiber lines for the Cable/Telecom companies in exchange these companies lowered the cost of it’s products for its citizens. But as it looks now, it seems like government is pushing out competition and that could be seen as socialism.

  176. Anything we can do to protest these bills that these monopoly-type companies are trying to push? any links to an already started petition? i couldn’t find one on petitiononline.com for this, and I’m far from the best one to word the petition correctly.

    I’m in Colorado. I want something like this. There’s only one broadband provider in my area, and the prices are insane. We only have broadband instead of dial up because my grandma lives with us, and pays for it with the cable she likes to watch.

  177. I am an other reader of the consumerist.com, and as a thrall to TW horrid service, high prices, and backwards thinking, I am rooting for you guys.
    I may not be able to do much from California, but know as more people read this, the more support you will get,

  178. I wish everyone in your state good luck, free choice!

  179. You guys are amazing. Why can’t we have this in WA state?

  180. Kudos!
    I live in Beaumont, TX and unfortunately TWC is the only game in town. Here, they have a cap on our downloads per month, even though all their literature states “unlimited”. It is such BS, they are trying to set up a service model like the cellular providers, argh! I pay a little over $100/month for 7Mbps and digital cable. I sure would like to see TWC get some good competition.

  181. […] with Greenlight on price and service, they’ve instead been lobbying the state government of NC to pass laws to put Greenlight out of business. Apparently they’re having some success, as the NC State Senate has proposed bills that would do […]

  182. […] Read – Save NC Broadband blog […]

  183. As long as the local city is responsible in their service of broadband, cable and/or telephone service.

    I used to live in a small town that provided all 3, and locked out other telco’s. Pretty much reigning in a town owned monopoly on telecommunications.

    Be ethical, and I will wish you all the best!

  184. Dear good Greenlight folks,

    As a humble internet citizen, I love the idea of Greenlight kicking the bejeebus out of TWC, but hope that you are able to expand to other cities. Greenlight is exactly what the US needs to force ISPs to both become competitive and to provide quality service befitting the astronomical costs of service. What can we do to show our support and help GreenLight grow?

  185. Brian,

    While I am strongly in support of governments providing such services to their constituents, I think that your representation of the bills is inflammatory at the very least. Shame on you!

    Several examples of the provacative nature of your comments:

    1. You state that the bills will “Prohibit cities from moving money between broadband and other divisions. So, Wilson citizens can’t expect to see any of their subscription fees go to pave streets and build basketball courts. Does that make sense?”

    This is not at all what the bills say! They specify that a city cannot subsidize the broadband business with other government funds. Taxes or revenues such as proceeds from water bills cannot be used to fund broadband. What the bills say is that the broadband business has to be self-sustaining. Only the government has access to those funds; not the private companies. This is where the government non-compete policies come into play.

    2. You state that these bills will “Ban cities from pricing service below the cost of providing the service. ”

    Exactly. This is why the bills are requiring the government-provided broadband services to be self-sustaining. If a city is pumping money from taxes and services (i.e. water, trash) into their broadband business then they could actually charge customers less than the cost of providing the service. Who will have the monopoly in that case? Is there ever a case when a monopoly is ok?

    3. In your reply to another post you state that “The bill provides additional rules for cities and towns that the telcos and ISP’s don’t have to follow”.

    That’s true, but taken completely out of context. The additional rules are not protectionist toward the private companies. They are set up to ensure that the government pays all of the same charges that private companies do, and that they do not receive any benefits (tax exemptions, etc.) that are based upon their municipal status.

    I’m the first one to support causes that I believe in with my activism. I will always oppose monopolies and will always promote issues that I believe to be in the best interest of the public. That being said; I also believe that it is my responsibility to present the FACTS of the issues. Again, shame on you!

    • If TWC wasn’t dumping thousands in campaign donations to the sponsors of the bills as well as the Attorney General and Govenor than maybe your arguement could stand on it’s own however TWC, ATT and Embarq are clearly trying to buy the vote unless you think a State Rep. can take thousands of dollars and not be influenced.

  186. Good job, Wilson! Rock on, and best of luck!

    We live in a very well-heeled community just north of San Francisco, and our broadband options are crappy expensive cable, and crappy expensive slow DSL. I wish our municipal government had the kind of guts and foresight Wilson is showing.

  187. I don’t see any reason why the cable companies should be protected from competition from anyone, including municipal service. As long as the municipal service is not being subsidized by tax dollars, as you say, what is the reasoning behind preventing competition?

    I do, however, think you are going a bit far equating the providing of high speed internet access with clean water. No one will get dysentery without internet access. =)

  188. I wish I could sign up! I’m a Time Warner customer until about 10 minutes after there is another reasonable option. What I pay for cable is ridiculous and I am strongly in favor of anything we can do to push the cable companies to be more competitive. That’s what our system is all about, isn’t it? Competition! It’s good for the consumer – no wonder Time Warner hates it.

  189. Way to go, Mr. Bowman!

    I applaud your efforts. What these companies are doing is quite reprehensible. They can talk all they want about Greenlight Inc. not having “the right” to provide broadband service, but the truth of the matter is that they’re only worried about their profit margins and are set out to line their pockets. It’s disgusting. People have been clamoring for better broadband for a long time. These greedy companies have been citing upgrade and infrastructure costs, even though these costs have been falling. And in the face of falling maintenance costs, they ratchet up their prices. When someone comes along providing better service at a better price they don’t want to compete by *gasp* lowering their prices and provide better services. So they decide to sue? What these companies are doing should be evident to everyone. They’re greedy monopolies and they don’t care about you. They only care about money.

    Rock on Mr. Bowman. I hope you win.

  190. Love what your city is doing. Wish more (especially mine) will follow your lead! Your city has made an investment in itself – with the payback being more businesses locating in your area, more people looking to live there, higher sale values on houses, and probably a lower-level of taxation due to a likely-ever-growing group of people moving into your city! Very forward-thinking. Way to go!

  191. Please help spread this all thru the smaller towns in the US that don’t have choices in broadband. Or even bigger towns that need more!

    I’ve always wondered why I build a better and cheaper computer every two years and my internet service still the same speed.

    Hmm.. Can you lay a line to mid-Kentucky possibly?

  192. Love It! Keep it up, this is exactly what the us economy really needs, grassroots, civic pride minded innovation. Bravo and Kudos to your fine city!

  193. Time Warner’s behavior in this matter has been absolutely disgusting. If my neighborhood comes together to provide a community service, what gives them the right to try to shut it down? What’s next, no more city light or garbage service?

  194. Or, there a job in Wilson, NC that I fill?

  195. Me personally, I don’t think government should provide TV, phone or internet services.

    On the other side I don’t think companies like TWC, Cox and Comcast should have virtual monopolies on said services.

    This is going to be a real tough sell on both sides of the isle when it comes to the state legislature. Aside from my political issues with this topic, I wish i lived in Wilson… Good luck!

    Hopefully this will open the eyes of of these mega corporations, into providing a service that is in tune with today’s technology and people’s wallets.

  196. […] tuve que mirar google maps) le ha plantado cara a las compañías de cable estadounidenses y se ha creado su propio ISP. Todo iba muy bien hasta que empezaron a tener una cantidad significativa de abonados. Ahora Time […]

  197. Kudos for scaring Time Warner a bit. I hope that your actions encourage other municipalities to follow the direction that you have gone in. Local governments providing some pressure are the only way that internet connections are ever going to get any better. The AT&Ts and Time Warner Cables of this nation are too lazy to do it on their own.

  198. Its great to hear you are fight back. I think every major city should follow this model. How can we get this going in Houston TX ????

  199. Wow…Just wow. I live in Greensboro, just moved down here – and I’m unsure how far Wilson is from Greensboro, but if you guys are able to provide service from me, I’d be more then happy to sign a contract with Greenlight. I think if remove the “small” company label, and start providing service for more then just a handle full of people – the senate wouldn’t dare make any law that would threaten someones service. Just grow in size… And you’ll grow in influence.

  200. I used to live in Tacoma, Washington and we had a similar system there called Click! Essentially, the City maintained the lines and bulk-sold access rights to one of three local providers, who in turn sold to the end user.

    The city took care of the maintenence (i.e. sending guys down manholes to splice wires) and the local, for-profit providers took care of modems, converter boxes, customer service and other end user issues.

    I’ve also used Qwest DSL (in Seattle) and SBC/AT&T Broadband (in Houston) and Tacoma Click! was *by far* the best. Any bill limiting the ability of such municipally-based systems to flourish would be a serious mistake.

  201. I think you are doing a fantastic job, and I hope that the state doesn’t shut you down.

  202. They can’t compete? Somehow I just can’t get all teary-eyed over the Big Guys losing out in this. Apparently they forgot _how_ they got rich – giving people what they want, instead of gouging them for all they’re worth.

    To hell with them, kudos to you.

  203. Greenlight is a model for our nation. Broadband internet should be as accessible as radio or tv. I fully support the City Government if it can provide this utility service at a reasonable price.

  204. Brian,

    Keep up the good work. We are fed up with TWC and Embark for their poor service and high price. You and the people of Wilson are right.

    I shall let our state representative/ Senator know of my opposition of the the 1004 and 1252 Bill

    Patrick Pham


    You need to tell your story here. How did Greenlight start? Why? Take us through conception and launch. Then tell us through stories how this has addressed the needs and values of your community.

    You have a great opportunity to present a compelling narrative to the internetz, and if you can they will rally.

  206. I support what you are trying to do for your community. Our city used to offer cable tv and internet but the cable tv was driven out of business by charter (which dropped their rates to below costs), practically the next day they raised the rates by over 25% for those of us in the zip code that were using charter (i was outside the city limit and could use the city provided service). These companies offer sub-par service at high prices and then wonder why the people will support alternative. Please let us what we can do to help.

  207. I stand up against this bill! even though i am not a state resident i feel that it is incredibly wrong for this corporate sweep to take place. Freedom rain down on us!

  208. I wish more local cities and town would take the initiative like you did. Kudos to you for a) looking out for your citizens, and b) bringing them a competitive product. I am in northern Alabama and we are in a rural area. We are locked into Charter only, which has dismal support/service. Sadly this is all I can get unless I wish to switch to satellite (no thanks). I think you’re on to something big, and they (the cable companies) know it. Keep up the GREAT work. I wish there was a way that we could show further support. Perhaps helping contact your legislature? Again, I think it’s awesome what you are doing. I’d expect this from a citizen, but never from a town. I wish you all the best.

  209. PLEASE come to Juneau, Alaska next!!! 🙂 This is fantastic! Good luck and stick to your guns… the big guys can’t win ALL the time (I hope)!

  210. I am considering moving my family to Wilson from Rochester NY simply because of the high speed, inexpensive, community controlled broadband. Keep up the good work Brian!

  211. I think it is wonderful what you have done for your community. People all across America are rooting for you. Let us know what we can do to help.

  212. I just found this story on Reddit and I thought I would stop in and tell you all that I support what you all are doing. I’m lucky enough here in Louisville, Ky to not have to use TWC or Comcast and I think what you have given to your community is far beyond what any city could imagine doing. I am behind you 100% and hope you all can survive this frivolous lawsuit.

  213. Brian,

    I saw the story on Slashdot and it has motivated me to do something similar in my community. Could you send me the steps and processes your city went through to make this happen. I want to put together a business plan and present it to my community. Thanks for any help you can provide.

  214. Keep up the good work! I really hope you manage to blaze a trail for everybody else, with this move. It seems to me that TWC is demanding too much recently and it’s only for their own benefit.

    Greetings from Argentina!

  215. Keep up the good work. Saw your article on reddit and was touched. SO wish my town would do the same thing. If you posted a howto on your setup and operation, maybe you could get more towns to buy into it.

    Bravo Zulu

  216. Us here in New Zealand have been plagued with slow expensive internet from a monopoly. I love the idea of state owned internet.

  217. I don’t have much to say nor do I live in the US, but I really admire what you did. Keep up the spirit and don’t let the greedy and evil companies win!

  218. Cable companies continue to reign and charge astronomical prices. The only reason they can’t be taken to court for being a monopoly is because there are a few of them out there and they split the market share. What the government doesn’t take into consideration is that they may not have a monopoly in the country, but do in individual regions.

    Cable companies are like the oil companies for our fuel. They control our digital needs, know it, and don’t want to lose their power. I really hope something like this comes to where I live (San Diego, CA). All of the major cable providers are in my area, but they each provide service for different parts of the city.

  219. I wish you all the best of luck. As soon as I read this I thought of http://www.speedmatters.org/ and what they are doing.

    I hope what you have spreads!

  220. Hell Yeah man fight the giants. I live in California and i discovered your and extremely impressed with what your doing fighting the power. Keep up the good work.

  221. This is a great idea. If the market can’t provide an appropriate service at a competitive rate then it’s a community’s duty to provide its own service.

    So Time Warner, rather than responding to competition, goes and cries to daddy.

    Good luck you guys, hopefully this idea will spread.

  222. Now why can’t we have this in britain? I think it’s an awesome idea.

  223. I was very interested in reading your response, because, to me, what you described was Time Warner. Time Warner subsidize branches of their business with money from more profit-making branches. They are providing “a monopoly service doing what they do only rather poorly”. And until Greenlight came along and provided competition, Time Warner were “the ONLY choice for Wilson”.

    Considering Wilson’s annual budget is probably the equivalent to 1 days profit for Time Warner I can’t see why this small attempt at capitalist competition is anyway a sign of bad things to come. I agree better regulation of the telecom companies is needed, but this action by TW clearly demonstrates that it is the telecom companies that are attempting to regulate government. Is THAT what you really want? Is that democratic?

    But mostly, I think you should apologise to the teachers in Wilson for suggesting they would let their children leave school without the skills for spelling 😉

  224. Providing the highest quality internet at the lowest price is among the most important things government should be doing. That will not happen by letting monopolists like Time Warner make the rules and set the prices. Just look at their recent tier pricing fiasco as a good example.

    When government passes laws that say government will not compete with a specific industry, it is quite reasonable to believe that industry has government in its pocket. I already have a pair of Mecklenburg County state reps that I will helping to find other employment next time around.

  225. Wow, I never would have thought Wilson was on the cutting-edge. I live in Holly Springs and would love to see a service like this available to our town.

    I think you should put links on here to our State officials, to make it easier for us to contact them and make our voices heard.

    TWC has had a monopoly on service in this area for too long, its time we had more choices. I abhor what they are trying to do and fully support the town of Wilson in this effort!

  226. That’s Time Warner for ya. Big company’s demanding more of everyone’s hard earned money with no other or very little options. Hope it all works out. I would love to see something like this in Raleigh/Durham area.

  227. Atlanta, GA: I support the cause. Would love to see something like this come to Atlanta!

  228. […] Greenlight on price and service, they’ve instead been lobbying the state government of NC to pass laws to put Greenlight out of business. Apparently they’re having some success, as the NC State Senate has proposed bills that would […]

  229. If TimeWarner had a quality product at an appropriate price they wouldn’t have anything to worry about. Good luck!

  230. You guys have made an amazing achievement so far! Good job – keep it up!

  231. i live in austin, tx where TW, until just recently, had won the fight you are fighting now. just last year the first competitor was let in, AT&T. until then citizens of austin only had one choice for a cable provider and things were bad. we paid out the nose for nothing with no place to go.

    Don’t let the TW monolopy machine take over your town. if you do, you will be sorry. I hate all private cable providers. I only wish austin had something like Greenlight.

    Utilities are the only industry still left in this country that still monopolize. If we let the trend go on too far the US will end up like mexico and india.

  232. I’d like to see something like Greenlight in my area.

    Time Warner Cable is way too greedy. The only times they increase their bandwidth in my area is after Verizon DSL increases their’s.
    I hope your legislators are not all swayed by whatever method TWC is using to to subvert your efforts.
    If NC does change the law and puts Greenlilght out of business then I’m definitely moving to Verizon DSL as my alternative.

  233. Writing in support from New York City. I have Time Warner Cable RoadRunner internet up here and wish that the city offered an option like you guys, I’d take it in a minute and I don’t even need home phone service.

  234. I live in the dark ages, according to my friends and family – I pay $8.95/mo for dial-up, I have a basic expanded cable service for about $45/mo, and regular ol’ landline phone for about $35/mo.

    I just WILL NOT pay Time Warner for even more poor service, and they’re the only game in town as far as cable goes. I WISH that Myrtle Beach, SC would do what Wilson, NC has done.

  235. I’m just reading these…. (from the top message)

    * Prohibit cities from moving money between broadband and other divisions. So, Wilson citizens can’t expect to see any of their subscription fees go to pave streets and build basketball courts. Does that make sense?
    * Ban cities from pricing service below the cost of providing the service. We don’t use this practice.

    And it doesn’t seem very onerous to me… I think the first one is really targeted so money for basketball courts and street paving doesn’t go to pay for the network infrastructure; not the other way around. And the second just insures you are competitive… if you don’t use the practice, it shouldn’t bother you anyway. It does seem more “fair” to me.

    Having said that, I’m not sure why internet access isn’t handled the same way other public works projects are, it does seem as important to me as roads and parks; perhaps more time should be spent figuring out the line that works best between public and private ventures so the best service is provided to the public in the long run.

  236. In Texas for the most part, Comcast/Time Warner is really only option I can currently get and I hate it. ATT is coming in with their fiber technology but it is not widely available yet. Technology has come far enough and slowing down peoples connection only slows progression. Anyways I support the effort your making. If a letter to your congressman from out of staters is any good send out an e-mail to the people on this board. Get as much support as you can.

  237. Keep up the good fight!

    The virtual monopoly Cox Communications has here in Wichita, KS is a damn shame. If I were to request the services you state above, from Cox, I would pay about 50% more than you, and that is in a very large market (without fiber btw).

    I would hate to see the city of Wilson stuck in the same boat.

    Good luck!

  238. […] should be allowed to continue to operate. There are a few interesting comments on Wilson’s Public Affairs Manager’s Blog about what the state Senate and House bills actually say. It appears that they are just asking for […]

  239. Found you through Consumerist. I can’t write anybody as I live in MA, but I’m fully behind you and think that you guys have them scared. And they should be. I have Comcast and it makes me cry.

  240. We live in Charlotte, NC and I wish you all the best.

    I wish we had something similar here.


  241. Love it. plz come to Greenville SC and do the some. I hate the 5mbps with 100gb cap from charter that I got.

  242. […] Save NC Broadband: City of Wilson’s blog about the fight to keep their broadband alive! Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Time Warner and Embarq can’t compete with city-owned ISP, trying to outlaw itAs Costs Fall, Companies Push to Raise Internet PriceEntrepreneurs Cut Own Pay to Stay Alive […]

  243. Looks like I’m moving to Wilson, SC.

    Just adding another name that thinks TWC should play fair.

  244. I have TWC as well here and it’s terrible. I have friends living just a few miles away and across the county line where TWC does not have a monopoly and they have vastly superior service.

    I don’t know what the legal situation is, but I’d like to see more cities and towns lay the fiber infrastructure and lease the fiber to every company who wants to compete in the market. I would think that would be a cleaner, more defensible, solution than to have the municipality provide Internet services directly. It’s a model that has been shown to work well in large cities outside the US. It may be different in smaller towns, but I’d like to see it tried.

  245. I support your effort and there is no way that any member of your state Congress could support those bills without admitting to being in the pocket of cable and internet providers.

    Keep up the good fight!


  246. […] Greenlight on price and service, they’ve instead been lobbying the state government of NC to pass laws to put Greenlight out of business. Apparently they’re having some success, as the NC State Senate has proposed bills that would […]

  247. I hope the best for you in this fight. I would go before the general assembly and point out that on a federal level the teleco companies have received tax breaks and subsidies over many years with the promise of providing fiber optic connections to the consumer. Had they done what they said with that money and provided fiber to the end users (not just between co-location facilities) they would be competitive.

    I live in atlanta GA and would like to see this take hold down here. Perhaps, the teleco companies should come to the table with a different attitude and see how this model works. The infrastructure of united states network is falling behind other nations at a rapid pace.

    Perhaps these COOP systems implemented by local government could be the answer. What ever the case we need to get on the stick because you won’t know there are problems until the future. Take for example other ISP’s, “well, we did get a lot of money and handouts for fiber but figured we would just pocket them and use cable. Now people are streaming larger quantities of information and the cable isn’t holding up to well. Let’s just blame it on bandwith hogs and put a cap on usage and we should be good.”

    In the end it is up to the tax payers of NC. Write your elected officials and let them know that if they back this bill, they will be out of a job come next election cycle. Also explain to people that might not know how important this issue is. Not only is it important to NC but the rest of the united states. Don’t let a multi million dollar company kill a golden goose because it eats their profit margins. I can only hope this gets more attention and backing from people across the nation.

  248. Time Warner Cable just temporarily backed off of trying to introduce a really customer-unfriendly plan here in Austin, TX. I wonder if we can tap into the fury and encourage the city of Austin to offer a service like yours.

    Then again, it’s entirely probable that Texas has already outlawed such a thing.

    You should definitely market your project to other city managers. You could be a nationwide leader for really positive change in this area.

    I really hope your legislature doesn’t let you down. I wish there was a way for me to do more for you than send hopes, but I know that state politicians don’t want to hear from non-constituents.

    Good luck, and good work!

  249. Just wanted to express my empathy towards Greenlight’s initiative.

    It is just scary how corporations can bend and twist bills to suit their greed.

    It would be even more scary if no one stands up and says that is wrong.

  250. The model of cable companies controlling the last mile of access to our homes was fine for television, a non-critical service with alternatives like over the air or satellite, but does not work for something as important to our lives as broadband. A single company can’t be trusted to act in the best interest of the public as Time Warner and other have repeatedly demonstrated, especially when challenged with new forms of competition such as municipal access or streaming television.

    It’s time to get congress involved, and re-think a model that just doesn’t work.

    Want to see what people are saying about Time Warner? http://twitter.com/twcsucks

  251. I live in SE Indiana near Cincinnati so obviously I’m out of your service area but I’ve read about your service and what Time Warner Cable is doing. I thought we were a “free market” economy not a big companies legislate smaller companies out of business economy. Keep up the good fight. Also good people of NC out there let your local officials know you will not stand for this.

  252. I hear that Time Warner charges something like $140 for what the city offers. Why is it down here in Tampa bay area FL i can get the same service from Time Warner for $99 (plus more channels?). Telco’s and cable providers are just begging to be nationalized when they play by their own set of rules, cause the only people to get hurt by their practices are their customers. I think more cities should do this and the money can go back into the system instead of some CEO who does nothings off shore banking account.

  253. Southern Maine was one of the first areas in the country to receive Time Warner’s roadrunner service. It’s been downhill ever since (the service, I mean; the price has sloped in a distinctly different fashion). Local DSL is a joke; Fairpoint can’t get its act together, and its pricing is just as obscene as TWC.

    Communities in Maine have no money for this kind of thing; I sincerely hope your experiment survives, and puts the fear of the consumer back into the hearts of Time Warner, Comcast, Fairpoint, AT&T, and on and on and on.

  254. Leave it to the Cablecos/Telcos to wanna “take care” of everyone. But when push comes to shove, they’re only taking care of themselves.

    As a municipality, maybe its time to revisit the rates the cable company has to pay the city for they’re coax lines on the utility poles. (that is if they’re city owned). Although that would be sinking to they’re levels….

  255. Brian is your salary being paid for by the City of Wilson or by your cable utility? If it is being paid by the City then tax $ are being used to compete with a private utility. I hear so much about being paid for with bonds and not using tax payers $ but I keep seeing so much unaccounted for.

  256. Austin, TX needs Greenlight!

    • Given the colors of the local college, Austinites would call it Orangelight. But whatever WE NEED IT!

  257. Good going Wilson, N.C.!

    It’s ironic how TW and other companies cry foul and say this effort is “anti-competitive”. Very ironic coming from a monopoly.

    I suppose their idea of “free enterprise” is being free to do what they like to their captive customer.

    Good luck!

  258. the reason Wilson will be exempt from the legislation is that to drive them from the market would raise antitrust concerns.

    disincentives for other cities from starting their own greenlight appears the best way to stop other cities from doing it, unless other cities started their own Greenlight corporations right now before the bills became law.

    People should remember the governor has to sign the bill. Email him!

  259. The city of Wilson is moving in the right direction. Every city should be moving to provide Broadband infrastructure. Since cities are suffering from the recession, they should look to receiving any of the revenue from internet connections, not the large and larger corporations that do not have any regards for the American people’s welfare. Large corporations and cable companies have taken over nearly all the TV and radio air waves. Don’t let them take over the internet!

    We wish you the best. Please do not let corporations speak for you.

  260. The Call to Action is up on http://www.stopthecap.com. We are seen by thousands of folks in the Triad. A sample letter is also up on our site, and hopefully will drive another e-mail blitz.

  261. Keep up the good work! I hope you, and other communities that are sure to follow, will succeed in this endeavor. I will certainly be watching with interest.

  262. I’d just like to say bravo to local government for stepping up. It’s a long time coming, and the cable/telecom companies have nobody to blame but themselves. Anti-competitive practices, price-gouging and what I can only describe as a dedication to a customer-unfriendly business model have been the status quo for far too long.

    Fight the good fight.

  263. This is such an inspiration, keep fighting the good fight! The Internet can save the world and humanity as long as we do not allow it to be controlled by any government or corporation. All we have is ourselves; we must utilize the power of numbers to overcome corporate power!

  264. I think what Wilson is doing is great. It’s good to have competition in all areas of business. Large companies charge what they feel they need to charge, so why not let a city or any other entity provide the same services at a cheaper cost if they are able to do so. This no different they shopping around for a pair of shoes. Large companies don’t want the competition so that they may continue to charge prices they we feel are unreasonable. That is why we need multiply competitors in all areas of business and in all geographical areas.

    Each city can profit from provide its own services to its community. Giving everyone the option of going with the services the city provides or with the other guy (Time Warner), who is in the future trying to charge you for per email and for bandwidth usage.

  265. “My name is Brian Bowman. I’m the Public Affairs Manager for the City of Wilson, NC, and I’ll bet my broadband is faster than yours.”

    Actually I have 75/50 😀

    On a serious note, I’m glad Wilson is providing this service. Time Warner is absolutely ridiculous on how much they charge for the pathetic speeds and options they provide. And then to complain about it being unfair? Last time I checked customers can still purchase TWC in Wilson. Don’t know why they would, but they can.

    Corporations do not get to dictate who can enter the market. This is a capitalistic society: if someone is out-competing you, you either fight back with better rates, products, etc. or admit defeat. But not and try to pass laws to prevent competition. This bill should be struck down instantly: to allow it’s passage would be devastating to one of the foundations of America

  266. I heartily support this. I hope you survive! More colloquially, up the NC Greenlight punks!

  267. From Texas, and 100 percent behind you.

  268. I saw your website from The Consumerist, and I have to say that you guys are just really awesome. Seriously, you’re pretty much my new heroes. I hope this bill doesn’t pass, and I hope more communities can get this sort of thing going because the kind of stunts TWC and Comcast, and all these other huge ISPs pull is horrendous. Fight the good fight.

  269. Brian, I have enjoyed reading your blog. It’s good to see that things seem to be going well with Wilson’s Internet service.
    In my area, there’s Time Warner and three independent companies.
    I think competition can only make ISPs work harder and hopefully provide faster connection speeds.

  270. I live in Tacoma, WA – our local city-owned provider, “Click!” also provides faster, less expensive service, with local and exceptional customer service. If anyone from the State Legislature reads these comments, I hope they will think for a moment about their constituents – and about the message they will be sending by knuckling under to the pressure from companies who want legislation to protect them from having to compete on a level playing field. It’s time to change that pattern. North Carolina has the opportunity to lead the way.

  271. Local cities are known as municipal corporations. CO-OP have always had freedoms under our constitution. Too the people have freedom to organize as well. Cities = people.

    Time Werner can come there or anywhere. They will win over customers as soon as they provide more programming for less money then the co-op.

    Should the state make a law, it may well be struck down as unconstitutional as it takes away the rights of the people to life liberty and pursuit of happiness. There right to organize municpal servces falls under this.

  272. I love what you are doing here. I hope the two bills do not pass.

  273. Keep it up NC

    -San Francisco resident

  274. Way to go, Wilson!

    I sincerely wish we had something like this in Charlotte, and hopefully one day we — and many other cities — will.

    The internet has become vital for Americans as many of them depend on internet access for their jobs, I take my hat off to Wilson for standing up for these people who were being held over a barrel helplessly by faceless companies like Time Warner.

    This is the future. I’m very proud to be in the state where it’s taking place.

    Good luck, and keep fighting.

  275. well done.. i hope that you can convince voters to stop protecting the telcom companies.

  276. Watching this VERY closely.

  277. It would be great to have something like this in Jamaica but the big companies have Politicians too tightly wrapped up. I totally support you guys in your fight, though – Greenlight ftw!

  278. I love what you have done. This is just the approach we need here in Austin Texas where Time Warner Cable is certain to try their Cap n’ Meter plans again soon. I have reposted your info on our grassroots broadband fight site http://meterthis.net

    I don’t work for any media or cable company and am merely a concerned citizen and possible heavy download user. I’d sure like to stream at your speeds!



  279. I fully support local government co-ops that provide this kind of service when a private company won’t and hope that you can defeat this legislation. Makes me wish I could move to your town. I would strongly suggest you keep an eye on campaign contribution disclosures for any politicians that seem sympathetic to TWC or Embarq.

    Also, bravo for offering a separate “internet only” service. There is a news article about this issue that is using an outdated Greenlight service plan graphic that suggests otherwise and I was right on the edge of calling you out for hypocrisy.

  280. Brian,

    I think one of the best things you can do to fight this (other than legal challenges and this blog) is to take your business plan and make it viable for other cities.

    You should get everything down that you had to go through to get this business set up. Every step and what needs to be done. What is required of the company to function and what is required from the city and the community. Once you have this, spread it. Offer the plan to other cities or other people willing to start the same thing in their own cities. Offer it to people inside and outside of NC. They want to level the playing field? Force them to try to level it in all 50 states.

    Franchise it if you want. I’m not saying doing it for free, it could be a something that you can sell. You could even offer additional mentoring services.

    I know you’ve got a lot on your plate at the moment, but this is a valuable business model and you’ll only gain a larger support base if this model is successful in number of cities across the country.

  281. I wish you the best in your battle with the mega conglomerates. Liberty is on the horizon!

  282. As was stated by Kennedy: “ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.” You have clearly done a great job (justice) by your ingenuity at revealing that this could have been done a long time ago. What you have done here is reveal the black eye of our nation (GREED).

    The US is already behind a number of nations in providing high quality broadband services nationally. The Obama campaign has stated that they wish to build out this nation’s broadband infrastructure to not only compete better globally, but increase the quality of services (throughput via colleges and universities, Scientific community, ecommerce, new technologies – ex. cloud computing, etc.) offered nationally.
    If we are to be the leaders of tomorrow’s technology, we should view the actions of Greenlight Inc. as the catalyst in what it takes to get there.

    Find a way to make this issue so public that it embarasses not only the local government, but congress and the Obama campaign into doing what is right for all of us.

  283. Greenlight is a landmark in internet history and a crushing blow to ISPs in the fight for net neutrality. Access to media represents such an important commodity in today’s society, that it SHOULD be controlled by local government and SHOULD NOT be in the hands of massive media corporations where profit is the bottom line.

    The city of Wilson, NC is an inspiration to the entire Internet. Don’t ever stop fighting this fight because, when it comes down to it, you’re not just fighting for cheap broadband, you’re fighting for the unfettered distribution of information which is what made the Internet so great to begin with.

    Thank you, good luck in your endeavors, and please keep us updated on your progress.

  284. From Los Angeles, CA…Keep up the good fight. I’m all for you guys 101%

  285. It’s unfortunate that lobbying politicians trumps the wants and needs of the people they supposedly represent. A successful program like this would do wonders to attract new people and businesses to the area to increase the tax base and grow the area.

  286. It never ends with the cable and telco guys!


    “The Look” has a section on this nonsense in NC. Keep up the good work Wilson! Plenty people rootin for ya!

  287. Brian, I think your idea and implementation is BRILLIANT!
    I gather there are many issues at play here, but in the interests of loca distributed processing of tasks and avoiding the throughput problems of centralized processing, you trodden on some self-important toes.

    I have taken the liberty of clipping your message to http://www.equalparenting-bc.ca and linking back here to help get your situation well known. It has great implications for all of us.

    I would encourage all to Google Money as Debt, Money Masters, Capitalist Conspiracy, and G. Edward Griffin for grounding in the issues here. If it’s easier, you can also browse these topics at EqualParenting-BC.ca

    Highest regards & commendations for some great work.
    Lets insist on retaining strong local, accountable government & a free market in services!

    Equal Parenting – BC

  288. From Canton, OH. I haven’t experienced internet under TWC or Embarq, but I have read about their service and I support your goals. The idea that these companies would rather use dirty litigation to keep their hold on a market, rather than being honest, capitalistic competitors, is sickening.

  289. Totally support Greenlight, its a great idea

  290. Time Warner Cable is probably the worst company I have ever dealt with in my entire life. Their services are the bare minimum required to keep their business. Being a monopoly, that is all they have to do.

    I don’t even live in Wilson, but when I heard that they were lobbying the government to ban good internet service I immediately had AT&T U-verse installed and am canceling my TWC services. It is the last straw. I can’t wait to tell them why. I know AT&T is just another monopoly, but they are at least trying to improve their services. TWC has always done the absolute minimum.

    I hope TWC goes out of business in my lifetime.

  291. I know this is just a response column, but I would really like to know how to get this model set up in the research triangle here in North Carolina. It would be really helpful to know how this model got started in Wilson. Any advice would be helpful. Thank you.

  292. I think what your doing is really good for the community. As a city you could have a communications infrastructure ordnance that
    does allow completion from other providers. Only proviso is that the minimum requirement would be a high-speed network that has the same capability as what you currently have.

    This would level the playing field for all communication providers that care to compete.
    In essence your city “Raised the bar” for the local

    Best of luck


  293. I would greatly appreciate some clarification of the actual financing terms of the Wilson broadband scheme.

    It’s my understanding that this capital improvement project is funded via Certificates of Participation (COP) which are a debt instrument whereby the city government issues bonds and uses the proceeds to secure the purchase of an asset. That asset is then collateral against future income streams paid to the bondholders via a leasing arrangement, whereby the city government leases the broadband assets and then the bondholders are incrementally paid back principal and lease revenue until maturity.

    I am basing this on the following from http://www.wilsonnc.org/news/id/374/ (City of Wilson’s web site):

    “Certificates of Participation were issued in 2007, in conjunction with the electric projects, to finance the initial phase of the Broadband project. Additional COPs, estimated at $12 million, will be issued to complete the project.”

    Brian, you state that “Wilson tax money does not fund Greenlight.” That is true. What you neglect to mention is that COPs are generally exempt from federal taxes, and so therefore while it’s not Wilson funding the project, it’s indirectly all of us.

    But more so, clearly the taxpayers’ money must be used to guarantee the COPs from default. If the city in the future fails to appropriate enough money to pay the lease, then they will default and the collateral (ie the broadband) will be transferred to the bondholders. It seems to me that while no taxes are being paid directly by the City of Wilson, if at some point the demand for broadband services cannot sustain the payments to the COPs, then the city must raise revenue to make up that shortfall.

    So given that the City of Wilson’s taxpayers ultimately must bear the risk associated with this project, how is it that they are not “funding” it? Or is the City of Wilson as a policy willing to accept a default scenario if revenue shortfalls occur?

  294. as i understand it, a law that would make it illegal to have local isps to protect monopolies would actually be illegal under the sherman antitrust act. a quote from said act: “Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony…”
    i hope that this comes into account. there is no way that this can be allowed. it is illegal.

  295. Be thankful you have the option of fibre optic cable available to you in the first place. In NZ we’re still stuck using copper phone lines that can’t actually handle the amount of internet traffic it’s needed for. The chances of it being updated to fibre optic cables is very low as Telecom owns all the telecommunications networks and have no need to update it.

  296. This is a great idea, a great system, and it’s horrible that politicians are trying to shut it down. I’m sure Time Warner, Comcast, Verizon and crew already make plently of money to stay afloat. Isn’t Time Warner Cable part of a huge conglomerate?

  297. Oh My God! I would LOVE to have that kind of service in Onslow county! Brian who can we contact locally to implement Greenlight here, Jacksonville, Sneads Ferry, Verona, etc.? Why not start a petition to the Governor to not sign this into law?

  298. What you are all doing is amazing. I live outside of Philadelphia, PA and we are stuck between Verizon and Comcast. I must admit they are not as bad as TWC, but actually achieving realistic bandwidths and costs is something I can only dream about. Good luck, and hopefully this will spread to everywhere and show ISPs whose the boss of this country.

  299. Facebook has outrage over Time Warner already going.


  300. Well, I stumbled across this on the net, and I have to say; I think you guys did the right thing and I hope this bill does not get passed. People have the right to better service.

  301. Brian:

    As one that has been down this push poll & misinformation path too, I thought I’d provide some links to similar misbehaviour by SBC & Comcast from 2003 in our neck of the woods.



    and my personal favorite:


    Keep hammering away. You are doing the right thing for your community & state.


    Pete Collins
    I.T. Manager
    City of Geneva, Illinois

    • lol “What are you going to do with 20mbps?”

      • Even more comical, this presentation was made months after AT&T/SBC decided to proceed with their Lightspeed/U-Verse buildouts. They new they’d need at least 25mbps to offer their U-Verse services already…

  302. I live in Los Angeles, CA and I wish I could get your speeds! Because I live in Inglewood, a mostly black & hispanic neighborhood, my DSL is only 56 megabytes. We face the same monopolies here & they fix their prices too high, then underserve people in lower economic communities.
    I’d love to move to a small town when I retire for the quality of life but the lack of connectivity I hear about worries me.
    I’m glad your community found a solution that will draw businesses & people to your town.
    Best wishes!
    Fran Smith

  303. Fantastic idea to start a community ISP. I hope your state doesn’t regulate it out of existence.

  304. I can’t believe what’s happening out there, and I think this is an ugly effort from big and financially strong companies to gain advantage of dominant and strong position in the field.
    One of USA’s strong points is the open competition and freedom, and these kinds of laws only results in USA getting behind in the high speed and high tech race in the world by killing the market and competition and simply leaving citizens in the hand of big companies doing and charging whatever they want

  305. I’m cheering for you guys! We’re going to start the same fight here in Dayton, Ohio pretty soon…

  306. Hi Brian,
    As many others have noted, you’re doing the right thing.

    I think it’s important to make the NC legislators aware this type of legislation is discriminatory and bad for consumers. As someone who has seen the same fight in my neck of the woods(Minnesota), I can tell you the courts here seem to support community run ISP’s.

    In Bridgewater Telephone Co. vs. City of Monticello MN, the telecom sued the city to stop their co-op network. Ultimately, the city prevailed and the case is now in the MN Appellate Court of Appeals(Bridgewater is appealing the decision and the case is moving very very slowly), but the telecom caused a huge delay for the city.


    If the legislation fails, court may be the next stop for Greenlight. Be prepared.

    Mike Davis

  307. I think we’ll all need godspeed to beat these guys 🙂
    thanks for putting out the news.
    I’m hoping Obama makes all the difference we need.

  308. I hope you guys stomp out the cable/ telecoms in your area and keep on developing high speed internet without limitations. The monopolies will only continue to lobby for more fees and taxes and have stopped considering their customers. I hope this project continues to show them that continued bandwidth caps and limitations will not be tolerated any more. I offer my customers multiple solutions to their IT issues and so should the ISP’s. I have dealt with Timewarner in Raleigh, NC and they always have the same answer we can’t do that. Progress will happen with them or without them.

  309. Brian,

    I saw the story on Slashdot. Kudos to you folks! I am a network engineer who moved south from NY a few years ago. I’ve also worked for a medium sized ISP (not on of the big mega ones) but I know for a fact you’re doing the right thing.

    I don’t like to see good folks getting ripped off by a falsified, inflated, unnatural monopoly or scarcity of resources. We need more competition, not less.

    If there’s anything I personally can do, please let me know. You’re fighting the good fight. Take your opinion to the top of the ladder, to congress, to the president if necessary. You’re progressive in your approach and really represent the freshness we need in internet infrastructure business that we all desperately need.

  310. I appreciate that you mention Greenlight isn’t taxpayer funded. But what about the infrastructure ? Was it taxpayer funded ?

  311. Brian,

    Saw the story on Slashdot. Hope you win this fight against these monopolies .

    I would suggest contacting MoveOn.org on this and involve them to reach more people and lawmakers to take notice.

    US is way behind in Broadband rankings http://www.itif.org/files/BroadbandRankings.pdf .

    When Japan is looking to go for 1GBPS speeds , monopolies here are busy stifling the competition instead of making their services and prices better

  312. Saw ur story on Slashdot and think you guys are doing a great thing! TW is such a monopoly just about everywhere. They’re doing every “underhanded” thing in their power to get rid of any competition. They charge way too much for internet service to begin with. I’m not sure why TW is still so huge with the things they get away with. Hope more cities follow your example – thats what TW is afraid of.

  313. Too many institutions are built on manipulated legislation that only protects those who would take advantage of others. There is so much monopolization and market manipulation taking place under the guise of consumer protection and it has quickly become disheartening. These businesses don’t want to have something that shows how blatantly they misuse their consumers and then lament profit losses seeking financial help from the people.

    As long as you can be noble about your purposes and not fall victim to the selfish interests of both internal and external forces, I applaud you.

  314. You all should definitely talk to some people at BVU/BTES in Virginia/Tennessee. These are two municipal service providers that offer a GREAT service to the community. They had to deal with this kind of thing before their infrastructure was rolling.

    Fight this one and fight it hard. We need broadband innovation NOW, and if the large companies are only going to stifle it, forget them. They are the plague that is holding America back.

  315. Keep up the good fight. You have full support from someone in Idaho, even though it may not be worth much!

  316. I’ve long been an advocate of municipally owned broadband, and it is inspiring to see what Wilson and Greenlight are doing. I would like to see my old hometown, Concord, do the same.

    So long as municipal broadband eschews the practice of deep packet inspection, I wish You the best of luck!

    These big companies think we’re all ignorant – and they think they can bribe their way into law at the state level.

    Keep a close eye on your representatives in Raleigh and in Washington. They’ll sell out for campaign emollients if you turn your back on them for a single minute. There are some great resources available through FreePress.org. Get in touch with them, and join us.

    Good Luck! You are building a model that other cities, and other states, can use.

    Best Regards,
    East Lyme, CT

  317. If only I could convince my current home of Madison Indiana to start a project like this. It is key to have great infrastructure for economic development, and I work IT at a company employing 100 people that just got cable service rolled out to us last year. In a town of 14,000 we are lucky to have cable or dsl available at all. It is expensive and goes out frequently and is way oversold.

    The town is a great place to live, but few young people want to live in a place where they are lucky to get cell phone service, much less 3G, and where broadband options are limited. (We get 1mb upload, no matter how much money we throw at the problem.)

    This is a progressive response to an industry that has held the next generation of business captive for a long time. We need next generation networks built for bandwidth intensive uses and designed for the populations they serve. We don’t need bloated companies that are happy where they are with overstressed and underfunded networks telling us it can’t be done.

  318. Greetings from Chapel Hill, NC.

    All I can say is, do whatever it takes to win this fight. Please. The rates here in NC are outrageous for cable/internet from TWC.

    Your service is the envy of the tech community and I hope Chapel Hill can have something like this. Cheers!

  319. I think what you guys have done is great. I hope that the cable monoplies loose their collective behinds in this battle.

    It’s a wakeup call long overdue…. and people wonder why our broadband saturation is the lowest in the world.

  320. Keep it up. We need to clone this model elsewhere. My ISP AT&T keeps increasing
    phone and Internet charges without even
    notifying me. A reliable and cheaper Internet connection can help create new

  321. I’m not a resident of your city, or even your state, but after reading about your situation I can’t help but root for you! Keep up the good fight!

  322. Of course, here in Wake County, TWC runs the show basically, and I’m not surprised that TWC would want to stop competition and to charge more for less. That is what TWC is about. I hope that enough public pressure can be brought to bear on the NC Legislature to stop this bill. As with Wal-Mart, its more cost effective for TWC to lock up competition and it would be for them to provide responsive competitive service to customers. And it’s typical of NC politicians to be so bought that they would support TWC in this. I’m quite sure though, that if the bill is defeated, that Raleigh will be the last place in NC to get community broadband–it’s all about business and price gouging here in Raleigh.

  323. Greetings from Alabama … My parents live near Wilson and habe enjoyed the worst quality of service from both Bright House (Time Warner) and Embarq, with Embarq being the lesser evil at this current point in time. And I can speak that Bellsouth has done NOTHING to bring their 6 megabit DSL service to downtown Birmingham, Alabama (still waiting for it to become available in my downtown neighborhood, even though they advertise it as available). And that’s in a city where Bellsouth/AT&T has several local facilities and offices, so imagine what it is like in rural areas. ISPs are doing NOTHING to upgrade their networks — otherwise, services like these would be available in major US cities right now (but they are not). Fight the good fight, Wilson!

  324. I’m not even a part of your community, but I commend you all for your free-thinking, creative approach to this problem. If I could afford it I’d move to Wilson right now!

  325. I’m rooting for you guys and I wish my town had something like Greenlight

  326. I Don’t live in your city or state either, but I too a behind you all the way!!! I agree with what you have done and support Greenlight.

    More cities need to get on the ball and do this.

  327. Hi Brian,

    If these dinosaur ISPs had any interest in keeping customers and providing better service, they wouldn’t be overselling capacity, implementing caps, then suing anyone that challenges the status quo.

    Your cause is a good one, and although I wouldn’t wish this fight on anyone, I am glad someone is fighting it. This is an important case of private profit vs. public interest, and I hope you win it.

  328. I wish I could subscribe to Greenlight but I live in Canada! Rooting for you guys!

  329. Here’s an interesting point (crossposted from slashdot, hope the original commenter doesn’t mind):

    “The funny thing is that almost all of these ISP’s (cable providers, telco’s) already HAVE government-granted monopolies themselves. Time-Warner has certainly never objected when a city has granted them an exclusive monopoly to provide cable service to a city (such agreements cover close to 100% of their market), nor has AT&T ever been shy about their monopoly. If these companies were so serious about “leveling the playing field” how about they agree to lease those cable and phone lines to competitors and forgo those exclusive agreements with cities and counties?”

    Brian, so perhaps you could mention if these companies really wanted a leveled playing field – a legislation should be introduced to require them to lease their lines / dedicated DS3/DS5 etc to whoever wants to be an ISP – a similar thing was done in UK/CA, now they have real competition.

    Thank you for your blog 🙂

  330. Go Brian, they had their chance and got greedy. You should expand and push them out of other markets!

  331. Best of luck to you all !! Broadband is far too expensive in the US and its nice to see that someone is attempting to provide better service to customers at a real market price.

  332. “It [Greenlight] was not created to provide competition.”

    Why not provide competition? That’s what the free market is all about – you said it yourselves:

    “One last note, Wilson tax money does not fund Greenlight.”

    Without tax subsidization Greenlight is on the same playing field as the major telcos. So compete with them as a reminder of what kind of market they’re operating in!

  333. I wish you the best of luck. More cities need to do this. The Big ISP’s have had a free ride far to long. This is how we will help our economy by creating new money, without breaking the backs of the people. Big ISP’s cry expense, and data caps. Yet you have proven quite the opposite. It just shows how untrustworthy they really are. If they really wanted to level the playing field, they would compete in it. Rather than oppress it.

  334. The greed and evil that’s going on in our world is disturbing, and the internet is one of the most important mediums for people to share their ideas and grow.

    I don’t see anything wrong with Greenlight, it’s a business just like any other, it’s just sickening how far corporate greed twists decent human beings all in order to turn a quick profit.

    I fully support your opposition to these disgusting measures – everyone in the world should have access to FREE HIGH SPEED INTERNET. We easily have the resources, it just takes a big group of people to get the message though.

    I really hope someone higher up the ladder of our government still has a concience, and will help make sure these sick people do not have a chance to monopolize that which brings us all together.

    Good luck Brian.
    P.S. I am a North Carolina resident.

  335. poor america …it seems business concerns having more power as the government.

    when greenlight wins this battle, then this will be a small revolution.

    i’am from germany, i have 16mbit/1mbit connection and a internet-flatrate/+ VOIP. i paying each month 20€ (euros).

  336. From Spain, our support to your cause! We are too suffering from small bandwidth and high prices. Good luck, hope you win!

  337. […] disfrutan los grandes proveedores de Internet. La comunidad de Wilson se está movilizando ahora para salvar su Red, bajo la premisa que “la banda ancha es un elemento esencial como el agua limpia y los buenos […]

  338. I absolutely love what you folks are doing–start the 21st Century revolution! Generation Next is with you!


    Springfield, Missouri/ Los Angeles, California

  339. From India. Just few minutes back, from reddit, I came to know of your splendid effort to let Internet reach the people in an economical way and the efforts of the cable companies to obstruct yours. Full support to your cause and I hope the victory is going to be yours.

  340. Go, Wilson!

    Notice to the NC Senate: Americans all over the country and world are watching what you do. Do the right thing!

  341. I’m rooting for you as well. It’s insane that the huge companies are feeling “threatened” by your actions, and it’s even more insane that they’re trying to get laws pass to PROTECT monopolies…

    Aren’t those illegal?

    Good luck!

  342. I live in Durham and wonder when the other larger cities/municipalities are going to go green this way. It’s all about supply and demand. If the cable companies are having trouble competing, they should change their ways and prices to offer more than the cities do or leave the market. Passing legislation stopping communities from competition is unlawful in itself. This is what the population is looking for, forward thinking.


  343. Greetings from India!
    I really admire what you have done and really deplore what those big monopolies are doing. You folks from Wilson, N.C are showing the world how last mile connectivity can be done in a cheap and efficient way. So it is very important that you succeed. Take’em on Wilson!

  344. I agree.

  345. […] que disfrutan de conexiones simétricas de 1 Gbps y 100 Mbps respectivamente, pretenden salvar su Red de la voracidad de las operadoras y de su posición de privilegio. “Ellos no quieren igualdad de […]

  346. In my area, I am forced to buy from (one of the well-known internet providers), even though I live in a townhouse complex and the cost of installation and distribution is low compared to rural areas, so you would think there would be competition. As you would expect, this monopolistic environment is overpriced. I am a 25+ year veteran of the I/T industry, and Time-Warner’s behavior is exactly what I have come to expect from the telecom companies. Don’t be too surprised when the bought-off politicians support their scam.

  347. Just a note of support and appreciation for your efforts. Hang tough buddy.

  348. How would I go about assisting an effort like this for Raleigh, NC. This sounds great! I’d love to be able to fire my ISP (TWC) for a provider that offered better cheaper service. If you have any ideas how I can participate in making this a reality for Raleigh i’d appreciate it!

  349. Hi, I really applaud your efforts! I wish the City of Raleigh had the brains to do something like this as well, that would really teach those ripoffs at the TWC cable company a bitter lesson, until then I am sadly forced to buy slow and grossly overpriced internet connection from them. I dont believe the nerve of these companies to try play politics and force you shutdown rather than cutting their fat profits and stepping up to the challenge.

  350. You’ve got all the support I can give. I’ve written my reps and hope you guys can continue the practice, spreading it throughout NC. I can’t wait until Washington starts up something like this (I’m not holding my breath, though).

    Here’s a copy of what I wrote to my reps – I tried to make it as accurate as possible from what info I could gather:



    My name is RG, and I think you’re doing a great job so far, but I must ask you for a No vote to (House/Senate bill here).

    I am a big, big supporter of choice in service providers, especially with broadband and media delivery. It’s my job, if I don’t have internet, I don’t work. Period. And getting the cheapest, best connection makes the biggest difference in my day to day life.

    The City of Wilson approached cable and landline companies to provide internet services to Wilson, and they were TURNED DOWN. So, they decided “forget them, we’ll build it ourselves.” and ran fiber optic cable to EVERYONE in the city, and called it Greenlight. Funding for this did not come from taxpayers. Citizens in Wilson who choose to go with Greenlight pay for the service and line.

    Unlike Time Warner and other companies, there is no cap in download bandwidth (when you’ve downloaded more than 5gb in a month, for example, you’d have to pay more, PER GIGABYTE, to use Time Warner internet) and the speeds are symmetrical! Even if you’re not a tech guy, this is big. For years, even currently, speeds coming to your computer are blazing fast: 5, 8, or 10megabit downloads, but uploads have been throttled, choked off by the companies to less than 1mbit, which is absolutely absurd.

    However, Time Warner is now throwing a hissy fit about this because they feel they now have no chance to compete in Wilson, which is, pardon me, complete and utter crap. Wilson approached THEM and asked them to run a line, and they refused! They had the chance to compete, and said NO. You cannot fault Wilson, or other cities who will choose to do this for providing an alternative to what is now an absolute necessity. With the advent of streaming media, larger downloads, fast connections to the Internet are now a necessity. People get their news, weather, stocks, entertainment, even use their phone over Internet lines. Without a fast connection, we’re back in the 90’s and technology has failed us. Even now, schools are using their paltry broadband connections they get from third parties (money out of the state’s pocket) to show what streaming video they can in classrooms. Larger, faster lines will be constantly used by schools in a district with a service like Greenlight, for so much less than the school is paying now.

    In addition to home connections up to 100megabit (which is mindblowing – 100mbit is only found in small, technologically advanced countries like Japan or Sweden), Greenlight provides GIGABIT lines to businesses in Wilson! Imagine the kind of draw that is to businesses looking for a place in North Carolina to set up shop! You could have hosting providers, gaming servers, and so much more setting up in Wilson and taking advantage of these lines, bringing in much-needed jobs and tax money for the state.

    This is why I am asking you: please, please, please, vote AGAINST this bill. It does nothing but continue the monopoly of the current high speed internet providers, and shuts out innovators such as the City of Wilson. I can only hope it spreads throughout the state so I can take advantage of such a fantastic program as Greenlight.

    Thanks again,



    I’m not a big activist, but anyone who tries to kill off forward thinking in technology can go stuff it. Go Greenlight!

  351. I’m a long way from North Carolina, but I applaud your efforts. Locally owned ISPs, either owned by the city or local businesses is a wonderful thing. Please keep fighting, and if there’s something you need the public to do, let us know!

  352. I’m rooting for you from Florida. I hope more towns see how much support exists for this and follow in your footsteps.

  353. Keep the fight!!

  354. I was over joyed to hear of the action taken by Wilson, NC. I live in Columbus OH where we can only afford the internet through Time Warner, and when we moved here the had a total monopoly over the area. Our only option was to go with them. And the service as been sub par from week one. I just hope this has set an example for the rest of the U.S.

  355. Hi,

    Bravo! Capitalism at its best and purest form. Unfortunately the Telecom companies are also showing it dark side.

    I hope you will prevail and become an inspiration to others.

  356. Do everything to prevent these greedy companies from taking over. What they are doing is clearly not right.

  357. Cable Company monopolies have to go…

    Can you imagine that when a group of people organize, play by the established rules and are able to provide a better choice to cable customers, the big bloated corporations respond, not by shaping up and providing a better product.

    No they respond by going to their bought and paid for representatives and have them change the rules.

    This is not how democracy is supposed to work. Shame on the NC legislature for even considering legislation that would outlaw this competition.

  358. Good idea, and good for you. I painfullypay $44.95 for only DSL, and that’s @ an “introductory rate.” It’s nonsense, but that’s the cheapest I can get for where I live right now without “bundling.”


    Eugene, OR

  359. How can cable companies compete with a tax exempt organization?

    • we need one good service. however that is provided.
      public offering, and maybe a 10% premium on price to leave some room for competition.
      But looking for competition while the rest of the world gets on with it? that’s a loser, I’m thinkin’.
      That extra 10% could go to cancer research, say. Or not.

  360. This is all about choices. I moved to Raleigh from a community where we actually had 2 cable companies from which to choose. Unfortunately, they colluded instead of competing, so we wound up with identical services for identical prices. Wilson has come up with a great way to avoid this issue while still offering a choice for its citizens. TW is right to be concerned – who in their right mind would pay their ridiculous rates voluntarily?

  361. It’s your network, nobody is entitled to impose themselves upon you for the sake of their profits (at the expense of the quality of your service.)

    Install FIBER and get GIGABIT SERVICE – and get RID of the telephone companies who pretend to be Internet Service Providers.

    See http://communityfiber.org.

  362. Wow! Lots of comments to read (I wasted about an hour reading it). 😐

    I fully vote NO for HB1252 and SB1004, even though I’m in Tallahassee, FL.

  363. I live just a few miles outside of Wilson in a little town called bailey. We only have dial-up internet which is very very slow. Im talking like a page every 2 minutes depending on the graphics of it. Verizon and Sprint have made sure to upgrade this area with thier higher speed wireless service but not any cable internet. Im using Verizon’s ev 1x and it costs 6o dollars a month.

    There are some people around here that now have time warner. Time Warner must be going around the outside of wilson trying to make up for the customers they lost with wilson. I hope that Greenlight will bring the service here. I think most people here are going to take the first service that arrives and that is what I would do also. We Have been deprived of technology and are forced to payed 60-120 for a decent service with a cell company or satilite.

    If you can please help us. we would be happy if we only had 3 mbps.
    Thank You

  364. I love what you guys are doing. Where I live we basically have two choices for broadband Qwest (crappy) and Comcast (crappier). I’d totally go for an option that doesn’t suck.

  365. Here’s a related article about a town in Minnesota that’s doing the same thing and has been to court over it:


  366. I typically don’t like Government run companies but if you’re doing it right and cheaper more power to you! Go Wilson, NC!

  367. I live in Elkin NC and am praying that somebody here on the city council reads this…because it’s impossible to get decent high speed Internet in Elkin for a business. I just signed up with Time Warner for a pitiful 5mb d/l and 384k u/l for $79.99 a month and it takes 3 weeks to install. The DSL options are down more than up, it’s just a mess.

  368. If you check /. today, you will see a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling… The local telco got slapped down trying the same thing as TWC and EMBARQ. The MSC made it plain that the City in question had every right to make its own FiOS network. Precedent has been set, good luck in the continuing fight against corporate greed.

  369. Its funny the telco’s and cable are fightig you for doing good. keep up the fight I wished we had this in fayetteville.I only hope the General Assembly doesn’t get bought off by big business.

  370. Woo hoo! Congrats!

    You know those greedy corporations will not stop here. Keep your guard up and keep fighting!

  371. Congrats, Greedy is the root of all evil. Why can’t companies be satisfied with what they have. Competition is good for everyone. I wish every city/town would do the same thing as you have done.

  372. I would love to know HOW to get the ball rolling here in central Florida. BrightHouse has a stranglehold already with coax run along every utility pole and now they are raising their already exorbitant rates.

    Kissimmee, FL

    • get government regulation or a public offering.
      enough of the main stream as wild west only.

  373. Wilson, NC you guys ROCK! I wished Burlington would get in on this as well. Time Warner Cable has been pushing rates through the roof here. If the city could provide us with TV, Phone and Internet, then TWC would be forced to either follow, or get out of the way. I applaud you guys for taking the lead and providing your citizens with something that is just as affordable.

  374. stumbled across you guys and thought it pertinnent that i show a token of support. I hope enough people show a ‘small’amount of support, so that you can’t be ignored. best of luck.

  375. Maybe this has been brought up elsewhere but I looked at the bill and saw the provision about competition between government owned and privately owned communications company. Why is the government concerned about competition? Sorry to relate it back to this, but the government also gives breaks to insurance companies for the sake of competition with medicare. Again, I ask why? Why is the government concerned about competition? Do we not live in a capitalist society where people and organizations can prosper based on merit? For once, it looks like the government is OBVIOUSLY doing a better job than the private sector, but they are stepping on their own toes to stop it? What is happening here? When did our representatives completely stop listening to what we have to say?

  376. Excellent work Brian. please take a nationwide tour

  377. As an ex-North Carolinian, you’ve got my full support, as meaningless as that might be. Between this and the US ruling to allow Comcast to throttle traffic we are once again faced with the oxymoronic structure of the “free” markets.

    Samuel Mohar
    Chicago, IL 60640

  378. I am in the process of signing up for broadband with TW due to a lack of competition in the area. Reading this makes me want to cancel on principle, unfortunately the only other competitor is no better corporate citizen. Best of luck in the fight and hopefully a success here will inspire other communities.

    • we need government regulation. this playing wild west with our modern communications is pretty silly.
      or just a public service offering, setting a defacto standard.
      otherwise, what the heck: lets deregulate food and medicine and reap the benefits of competition!

  379. Good Luck in Fighting the Good Fight !

  380. it’s not about “choice”.. it’s about having one good vendor and let the rest go pound sand.
    One good, regulated vendor. And you are NOT going to get that without some government offering, you are not going to get a service level guarantee, nothing.
    Like, you’re not going to get complete and reliable medical care without government regulation. You know, the one that takes care of water and electricity and roads and gas and bridges and airplanes and fuel economy and toxic spills…
    Competition might get you something like Professional Wrestling… as opposed to Olympic wrestling.

  381. Location, location location is now speed, speed speed. The speed is necessary for large corporations to hire certain types of business services.

    Eliminate the speed and you may as well close the doors of many small businesses in Wilson.

    If these service businesses don’t currently exist in Wilson, they should. The service you’re offering makes them highly competitive to overseas vendors.

    If NC state government wants to get labeled as job killers, limiting Wilson’s right to offer competitive public services is the way to do it.

    I have trouble believing they aren’t attempting to do the opposite and promote your approach to other towns.

  382. Go get ’em Wilson!

  383. This is something that all city’s should be working on because sorry to say as “thegenerousweb” believes having one good vendor will NOT solve the problem.

    If you remember back in the day when cable came out they where the “one good” vendor! But as corporate greed sets in and as they say absolute power corrupts absolutely so does any good monopoly.

    And now that they can’t offer competitive pricing or services because they didn’t want to update their infrastructure and network!

    Now the only thing left is to cry foul and break out that lobbyist money and attempt to STOP THEM.

    Now what do you do if your the city counsel do you not renew TW cables contract when it comes up for renewal and allow some competition to join the bidding?

    Also if I was this town I would be building up to offer corp. incentives to move in to town because you have the infrastructure!!!!

  384. I am totally opposed to these corporate thieves who have managed to switch words around so that we’re being regarded as ‘consumers’, as opposed to citizens.

    This country has been hi-jacked. We’re living in ‘The Land of Oz’. What do you do when a crime has been committed? You follow the money/’Yellow Brick Road’, right? Remember, those are gold bricks you’re trying to follow, Dorothy. Follow the Yellow Brick Road and you may find the Wizard, if they don’t assassinate you, first.

    The TIN Woodsman (T.I.N.= Taxpayer Identification Number) worked himself to near death trying to fulfill the demands of the Market/Industry to the point where he became a soul-less machine. That’s why he needed his heart back. Corporate America had reduced him to a shell of his former self.

    How much longer are we going to allow these corporate thieves to keep-on raping and plundering this great nation which has been DBA as “The United States of Amerika, Inc.” A corporation is a fictitious entity, is it not? It can’t give orders, nor can it take them, correct? If this is the case, then who is making these decisions and why have we allowed them to continue to do this? We keep sending the same thieves back to Washington and our other government institutions time and time again, hoping for things to get better, but they don’t, do they? Isn’t a definition of insanity where you do things over and over, hoping for a different outcome, but it never occurs?

    Good for you, City of Wilson! I live in Greensboro, N.C., but I wish we were doing the same thing, here. If you find you should need the help and service of the Prince of the Air, Jr., I will be happy to be the crazy-face for such an endeavor, for I am all for ‘sticking it to the Man’, as ‘The Man’ has shown us all too long just how he feels about us. Time to bring all this injustice to a halt for the better good of the Citizens of this country.

    A.K.A. 1221-Prince of the Air, Jr.

  385. If only you could stretch your optic system just a tiny bit to reach Wake Forest, NC!

  386. good job keep up the fight how can people out side of wilson help and how can we get some thing like this going in winston salem

  387. Fight the good fight brother! This telecommunications monopoly that these companies hold are the true crime. Several areas (like mine) only have one provider per option (satellite, fiber optics, coaxial) and to me, that holds as a monopoly if you can’t enter one of their games.

  388. After reading the notes on the last session in the State Senate, I suggest everyone read them they are very telling, as it is informative to methods of law making that are “gross”.

    Further, I recommend those who support Greenlight and are from those districts where reps supporting corp interests used their position not to represent their voters correct that issue.

    Senator Hoyle D-Gaston
    Senator Clodfelter D-Mecklenburg

    Good luck,

    Brad (MA)

  389. this is the greatest thing ive heard of ur town is awesome i wish my area would do this

  390. […] to spend money to lobby legislators so that they can strip consumers of the ability to choose. I wish every city had the option and willingness to do what this city in North Carolina has done. Following this case is going to be […]

  391. I can’t believe our government would even consider outlawing this sort of thing. The town is providing an essential service. In my state one of our towns, Wallingford, has it’s own power company. It competes with UI. My bill in the summer with UI when I was in their area was around $200 a month. With Wallingford Electric I never saw a bill over $40 with the same amount of appliances. WAY cheaper. I bet UI would love to put the town power company out of business. I think it’s anti-capitalism of them to try to rub out the competition instead of competing.

  392. This is – hands down – my new favorite blog. I’ve always been very passionate about broadband policy/research and recently moved to NC. I’d love to become more involved here! Do you have contact information up? Any suggestions on how residents can get involved? Please let me know!

  393. Tell us what to do to help stop this. How about an email list so a mass email can be sent to stop this or a petition maybe? Possibly get my local city (Winston-Salem) involved to protect their rights? I’m glad you are telling us about this, but we need some leadership on how to fight it for the whole state.

  394. I would challenge the bills on constitutional grounds: since when can a legislature prohibit the free exercise of citizen choice as to the operation of their economic system under a Democracy?

    Frankly My Dear, By Now, I think the correct reply to these {epithet} jerks should be

    “the next time you call for laws to protect your monopolies —

    we’ll push to nationalize your entire industry, so that we can quit putting up with your crap and attacks on our society.”

    How about it?

    Same nonsense with PG&E in California. The writing is on the wall: it’s about time to start FIGHTING BACK against Corporate Fascism.

  395. One of the co-sponsors of this Bill accepted campaign money from ATT and Time Warner, go figure.

  396. I agree with Brent Akins. I also live in Winston-Salem, but am eager to support/get involved with this issue. Who can I contact for more information?

  397. I think you probably have ZERO ability to change where this is going other than pressing your local city or town to push on this. Our State Gov’t has never cared what the people of this state think unless it’s an election year.

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