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Google & Other Big Firms Join Battle for Municipal Broadband

Phillip Dampier May 5, 2009 Community Networks, Public Policy & Gov't 8 Comments

In 2007, when Time Warner and their lobbying friends were up to no good trying to kill off municipal broadband, Google joined the battle to preserve freedom of choice and the powerful tool municipal broadband has to provide communities with advanced services incumbent providers refuse to offer.  The bill died two years ago due to a growing opposition.

In 2009, the cable lobby was back trying to sneak this same bad legislation through once again.  This time, they’ve found some new opposition they hadn’t counted on before:

  1. Consumers!  It’s payback time for Time Warner Cable and other companies who sought to abuse their customers with ridiculous rate hikes, usage caps, and tiered access plans nobody wants.  Since they continue to refuse to completely abandon these profit grabbing schemes, ordinary citizens have organized and are willing to fight them on every front where their mischief stands to hurt consumers with higher pricing, reduced choice, and the creation on broadband backwaters.  In North Carolina, where the Triad was victimized with a Time Warner “experiment,” residents are joining forces and telling their elected officials to vote NO on HB 1252 and SB 1004, which are monopoly protection bills designed to thwart competition.  Consumers will remain vigilant until cable drops plans to gouge customers with tiered pricing and caps, in writing, and competes on merit, not on special favors.
  2. Google is back with a letter to the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, co-signed by consumer advocacy groups and high technology companies who see how much this legislation will stifle North Carolina’s economy and high tech recovery.

May 4, 2009

The Honorable Joe Hackney
Speaker
North Carolina House of Representatives
2207 State Legislative Building
Raleigh, NC 27601-1096

Dear Speaker Hackney:

We, the undersigned private-sector companies and trade associations urge you to oppose HB1252, the so-called “Level Playing Field Act.” HB1252 is “level” only in the sense that it will harm both the public and private sectors. It will thwart public broadband initiatives, stifle economic growth, prevent the creation or retention of thousands of jobs, and diminish quality of life in North Carolina. In particular, it will hurt the private sector by undermining public-private partnerships, hamstringing our ability to sell our goods and services, interfering with workforce development, and stifling creativity and innovation.

The United States is currently suffering through one of the most serious economic crises in decades. We also continue to lag behind the leading nations in per capita broadband adoption, access to high-capacity networks, cost per unit of bandwidth, and growth of new broadband users. To address these concerns, Congress and the Obama Administration have made more than $7 billion available to catalyze public and private efforts to accelerate deployment of broadband infrastructure and services. States can ill afford to enact measures like HB1252, which impair use of these broadband funds and the ability of the public and private sectors to work hand-in-hand to reverse these trends.

We support strong, fair and open competition to ensure users can enjoy the widest range of choice and opportunities to access content online, which is the heart of economic development in an information-based global market. HB1252 is a step in the wrong direction. North Carolina should be lowering barriers to public broadband initiatives rather than establishing new ones, so that we and other high technology companies can spread and prosper across this beautiful state. Please oppose HB1252.

Sincerely,

Alcatel-Lucent
American Public Power Association
Atlantic Engineering Group, Inc.
EDUCAUSE
Fiber to the Home Council
Google, Inc.
Intel Corporation
Utilities Telecom Council
Telecommunications Industry Association

cc: Governor Bev Perdue (by fax)
Secretary of Commerce J. Keith Crisco (by fax)
Rep. Hugh Holliman (by email)
Rep. William Wainwright (by email)
Rep. Paul Stam (by email)
Senator Marc Basnight (by email)
Senator Tony Rand (by email)
Senator Katie Dorsett (by email)
Senator Phil Berger (by email)
Senator R.C. Soles (by email)
Rep. Ty Harrell (by email)
Senator David Hoyle (by email)
House Public Utilities Committee members (by email)

Currently there are 8 comments on this Article:

  1. Yes indeed. Hit them where it hurts. Google, Hulu, Netflix, consumers, we all win by making broadband better and MORE affordable.

    @jmacofearth
    http://meterthis.net

  2. Tim says:

    The only companies that this wouldn’t be in their best interest are the cable companies who are trying to force their VOD services on us. Everyone else would prosper if bandwidth accounts increase in capacity. It is good to see Intel and Google on that list. Also, Alcatel-Lucent can make some big bucks selling fiber optic so of course they are on the list! :-)

  3. Chris says:

    Finally! I was wondering how long it was going to take before Google and others started reacting to what TWC is doing.

  4. Smith6612 says:

    I’m glad to see Google fighting for this. +1 to Google :)

  5. Grayson Peddie says:

    Plus One To Google!!!
    I Repeat!
    Plus One To Google!!!

    And To Many Other Companies Who Will Join A Battle Against HB1252 and HB1004!!!

    And To All Of Us Consumers, Too!

  6. techzen says:

    Google, you guys are awesome, as well as everyone else on that email.

    If anyone from Google happens to read this…why not start an ISP in Charlotte, NC? I’ll start paying right now, I don’t even care if it takes two years before you get it going

  7. T.M. says:

    Another thank you to Google.

    Once the people that run the popular websites understand the stakes they will rally against it. If the user is limiting their usage, Google has limited usage, and in return they have limited advertising opportunity. So TWC caps hurt Google’s bottom line.

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