Municipal broadband haters in NC dealt a blow

One state down and 18 to go to allow municipalities to decide their own fate on the best broadband network option for them.  Elimination of these laws is no guarantee that every municipality is going to enter the telecommunications business.  Most of them do not have the expertise for such an endeavor which is why they will turn to private companies to assume that responsibility.  If the incumbents could afford to upgrade the last mile networks in rural communities then there would be no need to consider leveraging the long-term financing of municipalities.  The problem is that investing in rural broadband networks is not something that most public companies can do.  As more and more communities build that last-mile infrastructure, I predict that the incumbents will start purchasing capacity or fibers from them.

By Matthew Lasar

“O joyous day! O rapture!” blogged a community broadband advocate on Monday. “That insidious bill [that] incumbents’ pocket legislator, NC state Senator Hoyle, tried to pass to kill muni broadband networks met its final demise over the weekend.”

Indeed it has. North Carolina Senator David Hoyle’s (D-GA) now-defeated amendment (S-1209) was cosmetically titled “An Act to Ensure That A Local Government That Competes with Private Companies in Providing Communication Services Has The Support Of Its Citizens.” But advocates of city/county backed high speed Internet projects just knew it as the Municipal-Broadband Must Die Die Die bill.

Hoyle’s proposal would have banned any Tar Heel state city or county from contracting to “purchase, or finance or refinance” any kind of property to set up an “external communications system.” The law defined the latter as anything that “provides broadband service or other Internet access service, cable service, telecommunications service, video programming service, or a combination of these services.”

The bill would have effectively established a moratorium on this sort of activity. It also authorized the Senate’s Revenue Laws Study Committee to (ahem) “study” the concept through this year, then study it some more next year, and, we presume, gradually ratiocinate the complexities of the question into the sunset.

Article Continued on ARS Technica…

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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