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House Republicans Sell Out North Carolina’s Broadband Future to Big Telecom

North Carolina: The home of the House-sanctioned broadband slow lane.

Not a single Republican member of the North Carolina House of Representatives stood with consumers yesterday as the cable industry’s custom-written anti-community-broadband bill — H.129 — passed the House in a lopsided 81-37 vote. Fifteen Democrats joined them, some after it was apparent the bill would enjoy lockstep support from their Republican colleagues.  Only three dozen Democrats were willing to choose the interests of their constituents over the interests (and campaign contributions) from Time Warner Cable, AT&T, and CenturyLink.

Rep. Bill Faison (D-Orange) told WRAL-TV voters need to be aware H.129 was Time Warner’s custom-written bill imposing harsh terms and conditions on community broadband networks, while exempting big cable and phone companies.

“Where’s the bill to govern Time Warner?” Faison asked.

Faison predicted the bill will make it next to impossible for any future community broadband effort to deliver service, even in areas where nobody else has or will.

In the communities of Mooresville and Davidson, House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Cornelius), who represents north Mecklenburg including Davidson and Rep. Grey Mills (R-Mooresville) both voted for the bill, throwing the local community-owned MI-Connection cable system under the bus.  That cable system, acquired from bankrupt Adelphia Cable and rebuilt to modern standards, faced unexpected financial hurdles from the decrepit state the infrastructure was left in when it was sold.  H.129 would limit the system’s ability to reach its entire natural service area in an effort to remain viable, likely banning service for unincorporated Mecklenburg and Iredell counties, and parts of the community of Corelius.

Avila’s statements defending her bill ranged from confusing to the downright absurd — particularly the assertion that high tech businesses will avoid North Carolina if her bill didn’t pass because companies would not want to do business in a state where the local government provided competing broadband service.  That’s a ludicrous notion for a business confronted with 1.5Mbps DSL from CenturyLink.  No high technology business will want to do business in a state that delivers some of the nation’s least adequate broadband service.  With Ms. Avila’s efforts, that fact of life could gain rubber stamp approval from many in the state legislature more interested in protecting the profits of New York-based Time Warner Cable than Wilson, N.C.-based GreenLight.

The bill is headed to the Senate next.  We’ll have a Call to Action up shortly regarding this.

If your member from the House of Representatives is not on the list below, they need to be held accountable for doing the wrong thing for North Carolina broadband.

NC House of Representatives Members Voting For Consumers By Opposing H.129

(Click the name of your member to obtain current contact information, and please send thanks for their vote yesterday.)


Party District Member Counties Represented
Dem 58 Alma Adams Guilford
Dem 107 Kelly M. Alexander, Jr. Mecklenburg
Dem 106 Martha B. Alexander Mecklenburg
Dem 21 Larry M. Bell Sampson, Wayne
Dem 63 Alice L. Bordsen Alamance
Dem 60 Marcus Brandon Guilford
Dem 7 Angela R. Bryant Halifax, Nash
Dem 100 Tricia Ann Cotham Mecklenburg
Dem 50 Bill Faison Caswell, Orange
Dem 24 Jean Farmer-Butterfield Edgecombe, Wilson
Dem 114 Susan C. Fisher Buncombe
Dem 43 Elmer Floyd Cumberland
Dem 33 Rosa U. Gill Wake
Dem 45 Rick Glazier Cumberland
Dem 66 Ken Goodman Montgomery, Richmond
Dem 54 Joe Hackney Chatham, Moore, Orange
Dem 119 R. Phillip Haire Haywood, Jackson, Macon, Swain
Dem 29 Larry D. Hall Durham
Dem 57 Pricey Harrison Guilford
Dem 56 Verla Insko Orange
Dem 39 Darren G. Jackson Wake
Dem 59 Maggie Jeffus Guilford
Dem 115 Patsy Keever Buncombe
Dem 42 Marvin W. Lucas Cumberland
Dem 30 Paul Luebke Durham
Dem 34 Grier Martin Wake
Dem 69 Frank McGuirt [ Appointed 03/07/2011 ] Anson, Union
Dem 9 Marian N. McLawhorn Pitt
Dem 5 Annie W. Mobley Bertie, Gates, Hertford, Perquimans
Dem 44 Diane Parfitt Cumberland
Dem 72 Earline W. Parmon Forsyth
Dem 118 Ray Rapp Haywood, Madison, Yancey
Dem 38 Deborah K. Ross Wake
Dem 23 Joe P. Tolson Edgecombe, Wilson
Dem 35 Jennifer Weiss Wake
Dem 55 W. A. (Winkie) Wilkins Durham, Person
Dem 71 Larry Womble Forsyth


Currently there are 2 comments on this Article:

  1. KC says:

    As Cenk Uygur would say, “of coooourse!”

    I don’t know who disgusts me more, the mindless corporate drones in elected office or the idiots who put them there thinking its in their own best interests.

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