Right now many rural municipalities in North Carolina do not have high quality broadband. Despite several Cities and Towns trying to work with companies to provided it. If a for-profit company can not make a profit providing service in these communities then I agree they shouldn’t attempt it. The sad fact is people in these communities can not wait for telcos profitability to materialize. The world is moving way to fast too wait. This is where municipal networks can help. To fill gaping voids in access. The presence of cable modem and DSL speed is not enough. Not in this age of a multimedia Internet.
If a municipality creates a network they will need lots of for-profit partners. Those partners can provide up stream connectivity (bandwidth to the rest of the world), fiber optic install, network hardware, consultants, network maintenance, etc., etc. All of these needs are ways for for-profit companies to make money. Municipalities should be seen as big customers, not competition.
When you look at other infrastructure created by government you see that modern business would not exist without it. Roads, water, sewer, telephone, and electricity have all been built and maintained at some time by government. Broadband Internet is the same thing. Let Local, State, and National government spend our tax dollars creating Infrastructure that for-profit companies can benefit from now and well into the future. At the same time individual citizens will reap the benefit also.
Most importantly is providing equal access to the Internet for all. Many people do not have broadband in their homes. This service is no longer a luxury. Going to a local library computer lab or coffee shop is not a optimum method for using the Internet. Can you imagine every time you needed to make a phone call having to go down the street to a business to use the telephone? Families need computers, Internet access, and the knowledge to use these tools. Without broadband available to everyone this will not happen at the rate needed to have lasting benefit.
In my opinion it is local government, not for-profit companies, who are our best long term allies in bridging the digital divide. People who do not have access now need all the help they can get. The monthly expense of a cable modem is not doable for many. That expense exclude people unnecessarily. Local government’s mandate is to serve EVERYONE. Not just those who meet requirements to be a customer.
Right now HB1587 will NOT help the citizens of North Carolina. In fact it does the complete opposite. It removes any realistic chance that local government will be able help its citizens by providing broadband. The requirements in HB1587 for a local government to provide broadband turn a democracy into a private business. If history of privatizing government is any guide you can see how this is such a bad idea. We want to be able to elect the people who serve us. Not labor under monopolies that give us little or no choice. Our best partners are those we can elect in and out of office. Not those who we vote for with dollars.
Any person, or business, that would create/sponsor this bill has completely ignored their fellow citizens. It appears they cares only to create a business monopoly at the cost of millions of peoples future. HB1587 is not about preventing government monopoly. It is a crass move by business to snuff out competition of ANY kind. Telecommunications companies are trying to create legislation that preserves their old business model. The Internet altered their businesses. Not Local governments. So instead of giving representatives thousands of dollars for their campaigns try rewriting your business plan and work with your neighbors instead of against them.