NC anti municipal broadband bill receives state House approval

It looks like Time Warner Cable (TWC) (NYSE: TWC-WI) and AT&T (NYSE: T) have won their first battle to hinder North Carolina towns and cities from building their own broadband networks as the state House of Representatives yesterday approved an anti-community broadband bill.

Passing with an 81-37 vote, the North Carolina state House gave its final approval to a bill that large service providers believe will prevent municipalities from getting a financial upper hand to build broadband networks. Now, the bill is going to the state Senate for approval.

The new bill, however, won't affect towns like Wilson and Salisbury, N.C. that already have built out their own Fiber to the Home (FTTH)-based broadband networks.

Supporters of the new bill believe that other municipalities should not only be required to get voter approval before borrowing money to build new networks, but also not be allowed to offer Internet services below cost or leverage funds from other city-funded utility companies.

Not surprisingly, a number of North Carolina towns have filed resolutions opposing the bill. Towns such as Asheville, Bladenboro, and Momeyer argue that they need municipal broadband networks to provide higher speed services in areas that large incumbent cable and telcos feel aren't profitable enough to upgrade existing networks to offer higher speed broadband services.   

For more:
- The Boston Globe via AP has this article

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