Lawmakers eye blocks on fiber optic systems

By Emily Ford

cable television

Image by ·júbilo·haku· via Flickr

Local officials say they have convinced state legislators to exempt Salisbury from a bill that would limit the ability of municipalities to operate broadband networks.

Salisbury recently launched Fibrant, a fiber to the home network that competes with private telecommunication companies to provide Internet, phone and cable TV service.

This marks the fourth year that legislation threatens municipal broadband systems like Fibrant.

But Mayor Susan Kluttz said state lawmakers have assured her they will rewrite the bill to exempt Salisbury and other cities with networks that are up and running.

“We were able to have a really positive discussion with them and explain to them what this situation means and the impact it could have on Salisbury,” said Kluttz, who spent a day and a half in Raleigh with Assistant City Manager Doug Paris meeting with legislators.

Sponsors pulled the bill, which was scheduled to be heard Wednesday by the Public Utilities Committee.

“They did not want to do anything to harm Salisbury or any other city,” Kluttz said. “There was already some partial exemption in the bill, and we expect to have full exemption.”

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About Mark Milliman

Mark Milliman is a Principal Consultant at Inphotonics Research driving the adoption and assisting local governments to plan, build, operate, and lease access open-access municipal broadband networks. Additionally, he works with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to increase the value of their intellectual capital through the creation of strategic product plans and execution of innovative marketing strategies. With more than 22 years of experience in the telecommunications industry that began at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Mark has built fiber, cable, and wireless networks around the world to deliver voice, video, and data services. His thorough knowledge of all aspects of service delivery from content creation to the design, operation, and management of the network is utilized by carriers and equipment manufacturers. Mark conceived and developed one of the industry's first multi-service provisioning platform and is multiple patent holder. He is active in the IEEE as a senior member. Mark received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
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