North Carolina lawmakers KO municipal broadband
North Carolina's legislature has killed a key state agency and passed a law that makes it nearly impossible for cities in the state to operate their own broadband networks, Stateline reports.
The law follows restrictions on broadband in 19 other states, and came after years of lobbying by big cable and telecom companies, the article added.
The state legislature also killed North Carolina's broadband authority, which had a national reputation for its statewide planning and technical assistance work, the story continued.
The Federal Communications Commission and some local officials opposed the law when it was introduced, GCN reported in April.
FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said in a statement at the time that the bill, titled the Level Playing Field/Local Gov't Competition Act, “certainly sounds goal-worthy, an innocuous proposition, but do not let the title fool you. This measure, if enacted, will not only fail to level the playing field; it will discourage municipal governments from addressing deployment in communities where the private sector has failed to meet broadband service needs.”
Clyburn contented that the bill and other state laws like it hinder efforts to implement the National Broadband Plan, which was mandated by Congress in 2009. Commercial providers have claimed that municipal systems give public-sector providers such as cities an unfair advantage over private business.
Cities around the countries have over the past several years attempted municipal broadband systems, with a mixed record of success.
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