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Rep. Ty Harrell Responds to Stop the Cap Reports About HB 1252

Phillip Dampier May 6, 2009 Community Networks, Editorial & Site News, Events, Public Policy & Gov't 5 Comments

[Editor’s Note: Our current software does not require users to confirm their e-mail address before submitting comments on this site, although the individual purporting to be Rep. Ty Harrell did use a correct e-mail address for the representative.  On the chance that the comments expressed on this site are from the representative, our reply should be taken with that understanding.]

Someone signing their name Rep. Ty Harrell and using his e-mail address left the following general comment on two articles on our site regarding the North Carolina legislation HB 1252, which is essentially a custom written bill by and for the cable and telephone industry in an effort to impede municipal broadband network development inside the state.  Today, the legislation will be taken up by the Public Utilities Committee for review.  StoptheCap! is calling on all North Carolina citizens to do their best to attend this meeting and be prepared to protest this legislation in the strongest possible terms, and demand that representatives vote “no” on it.  At this time, only telephone calls should be made to your elected representatives.  It’s too late for e-mail.  This is the link for information about the group assembling for today’s Committee meeting in Raleigh.  Here is information about the earlier Call to Action.

The only thing I have asked you and others to do is trust me. As hard as it may seem, this entire bill has more to it than meets the eye. Hopefully, you’ll hear what happens with the bill tomorrow in the Public Utilities Committee.

Many thanks for your attention and consideration.

Best wishes,

Rep. Harrell, with the assumption we are reaching you personally and not someone using your name, let us reiterate that while we appreciate your consideration of our views, it is simply imperative for you to understand in no uncertain terms that the cable and telephone industry and their lobbyists are among the craftiest people around.  I’ve followed this industry for more than 20 years, and their abilities continue to impress me.  I assure you that unless you have an equal amount of experience in dealing with them, you are not going to outsmart them.  They will outsmart you in ways you may not yet understand.  The only acceptable course of action that will restore our faith in your representation of the good people of North Carolina is a withdrawal of this legislation from any further consideration.  It cannot be amended in any way that will not signal a victory for the telecom lobbies who are doing everything possible to stall, impede, or prevent municipal competition.  We would like to think this entire endeavor was a mistake, a misunderstanding, or simply a case of getting into the hornet’s nest you noted in some earlier statements.  It’s always better not to be stung any further.  Do the right thing.

If you would like to learn more about the impact of municipal broadband in small and medium sized communities across America, and how commercial providers respond to it, there is no better and more timely example that Lafayette, Louisiana.  They fought with big telco and cable companies for more than five years to construct a broadband fiber network.  They finally won, and so will the people of Lafayette, who will benefit from the most advanced broadband platform in the state.  Their pricing?  10Mbps down/10Mbps up – $28.94, 20Mbps/20Mbps – $44.95, and 50Mbps/50Mbps – $57.95 a month!

What is the incumbent cable company (Cox) doing now that they’ve not been able to force the city to give up its project?  They are competing!  They’ve announced an incredibly fast upgrade of their system in the area to the latest technology, DOCSIS 3, and are going to sell the people of Lafayette a 50Mbps broadband package (for more money, but this was the first city in Cox’s service area nationwide getting the upgrade — shocking for a community not exactly in a high tech corridor.)

When a municipal broadband network goes live in a community, the commercial providers finally cough up the upgrades they’ve spent years saying “no” to.  Don’t allow HB 1252 to just be the latest tool for the cable and telephone industry to use to say “no” to the people of North Carolina.  Withdraw it, vote against it, or do whatever it takes to shelve it.  Modifying it is simply not an acceptable option any longer.

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11 years ago

Typical politician talk. They assure you they know what’s best and your feeble mind can’t fathom the awesomeness the obviously horrible idea will bring.

11 years ago

You’re telling me you don’t think that extra cash in Ty’s bank account is awesomeness?

11 years ago

I got an email response from Ty, he says the same stuff in the email so that was definitely him and not some impostor.

“Thanks for your email. I greatly appreciate hearing from you. There’s more going on with this bill than it seems, and so much of it has to do with timing in the legislature. I’d be delighted to share more with you following the Public Utilities Committee meeting today.”

11 years ago

Everyone knows or should know that if there is no competition, then what incentive does a provider have in upgrading their network or lowering their prices for their subscribers? There is none. No competition means no upgrades, no innovation, and poorer service. I like how these politicians feel like they know best for the little people like us. They need to worry about serving the people that elected them instead of being corporate shills taking kick-backs on the side. That is one of the main reasons I am for term limits for ANY office and have been for years. 2… Read more »

Briana Bays
Briana Bays
11 years ago

If he represented me I would vote him out the first chance I get. Does he really think that he is so much smarter than I am? By the way, I’ve never trusted a politician and I’m not about to start now.

The good news is at least he’s aware of this site. Hopefully, he will spend some time actually reading the information here & change his mind. But I doubt it, that would require effort. Whereas, it’s much easier to just collect the gifts from the lobbyist.

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