The city council in Wilson, North Carolina, has reluctantly voted to turn off the fiber Internet service it provides to a nearby town because of a court ruling that prevents expansion of municipal broadband services.
The Federal Communications Commission in February 2015 voted to block laws in North Carolina and Tennessee that prevent municipal broadband providers from expanding outside their territories. After that vote, Wilson’s Greenlight fiber Internet service expanded to the nearby town of Pinetops.
But the states of North Carolina and Tennessee sued the FCC to keep their anti-municipal broadband laws in place, and last month they won a federal appeals court ruling that reinstated the law that prevents Wilson from offering Internet service to nearby municipalities. At last night’s city council meeting, Wilson decided not to appeal the court decision and voted to terminate the service agreement with the town of Pinetops, Wilson’s city spokesperson, Rebecca Agner, told Ars today.
About 200 home Internet customers in Pinetops will thus lose their Internet service on October 28, Agner said. The nearby Vick Family Farms that employs about 250 people will also lose its service, she said.
“We must comply with our state law,” Agner said. But city council members were very vocal in their opposition to the law and regret having to disconnect the service, she said.