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National Call to Action: Insist That North Carolina Gov. Bev Purdue Veto H.129

It’s time for every consumer across the country to help our friends in North Carolina, who are now facing the prospect of a Broadband Dark Age with the passage of a cable-industry-written bill designed to protect their monopoly prices and deliver America’s worst broadband experience.

The grand lie that is the Level Playing Field/Local Government Competition Bill (H.129) claims it will protect broadband competition in the state.  It will, if you are Time Warner Cable facing top-rated, super-fast service from community broadband networks that compete with them in communities like Salisbury and Wilson.

The power to protect North Carolina’s broadband future is now in the hands of Gov. Bev Purdue.

The North Carolina Senate abdicated their responsibility to serve the interests of state residents.  On Tuesday, they voted 39-10 for this consumer atrocity:

Ayes: Senator(s): Allran; Apodaca; Atwater; Berger, D.; Berger, P.; Bingham; Blake; Blue; Brock; Brown; Brunstetter; Clary; Daniel; Davis; East; Forrester; Garrou; Goolsby; Gunn; Harrington; Hartsell; Hise; Hunt; Jackson; Jenkins; Jones; McKissick; Nesbitt; Pate; Preston; Rabon; Rouzer; Rucho; Soucek; Stein; Stevens; Tillman; Tucker; Walters
Noes: Senator(s): Dannelly; Graham; Kinnaird; Mansfield; Meredith; Newton; Purcell; Robinson; Vaughan; White

Yesterday, the House added insult to injury voting 84-32 for the bill custom written by and for Time Warner Cable:

Democrat Republican
Ayes: Representative(s): Adams; Brisson; Carney; Crawford; Earle; Hamilton; Hill; McLawhorn; Michaux; Mobley; Moore, R.; Owens; Parmon; Pierce; Spear; Wainwright; Warren, E.; Wilkins; Wray Representative(s): Avila; Barnhart; Blackwell; Blust; Boles; Bradley; Brawley; Brown, L.; Brown, R.; Brubaker; Burr; Cleveland; Collins; Cook; Daughtry; Dixon; Dockham; Dollar; Faircloth; Folwell; Frye; Gillespie; Guice; Hager; Hastings; Hilton; Hollo; Holloway; Horn; Howard; Hurley; Iler; Ingle; Johnson; Jones; Jordan; Justice; Langdon; LaRoque; Lewis; McComas; McCormick; McElraft; McGee; McGrady; Mills; Moffitt; Moore, T.; Murry; Pridgen; Randleman; Rhyne; Sager; Samuelson; Sanderson; Setzer; Shepard; Stam; Starnes; Steen; Stevens; Stone; Torbett; Warren, H.; West
Noes: Representative(s): Alexander, K.; Alexander, M.; Bordsen; Brandon; Bryant; Cotham; Faison; Farmer-Butterfield; Fisher; Floyd; Gill; Glazier; Goodman; Graham; Hackney; Haire; Hall; Harrison; Insko; Jackson; Jeffus; Keever; Lucas; Luebke; Martin; McGuirt; Parfitt; Rapp; Ross; Tolson; Weiss; Womble

Not a single Republican in the House stood up for you.

Faison

Several legislators that still remember they represent the interests of voters and not out of state big cable and phone companies were appalled.

Rep. Bill Faison (D-Caswell, Orange), who has been a champion of better broadband across North Carolina, reminded the Assembly the bill should have been named the Time Warner Cable Anti-Competition Bill, written by a New York City-based company that will prevent cities from using their collective buying authority to provide themselves (finally) with the broadband service the private sector has steadfastly refused to deliver.

Faison noted Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt made $27 million in compensation last year — the same as the entire cost of Wilson’s GreenLight fiber-to-the-home cable system.

Faison openly pondered what the cable company has been paying to employ the six full time lobbyists who have been trolling the halls of the state legislature for months, and exactly how much next year’s rate increase will be to pay for their services.

Even the former chairman of the state Republican party called H.129 an enormously arrogant piece of legislation.

Luebke

Another hero for consumers, Rep. Paul Luebke (D-Durham), noted the bill’s immediate impact will be to keep rural North Carolina a broadband desert.  Luebke called H.129 a bad bill that denies service even to communities where no broadband service exists.

But Rep. Marilyn Avila (R-Time Warner Cable) wanted to ensure no one could say there was a broadband problem in North Carolina, so she supported an amendment that allows areas to be declared served if even a single home has broadband service in a particular census block.  That provision delivers beneficial protection to CenturyLink, who can spend their time, money, and attention on a merger with Qwest, the last remaining independent Baby Bell.  While they focus on making themselves bigger through mergers and acquisitions, the phone company faces no competitive pressure to expand service in rural North Carolina, and will face no meaningful competition for the indefinite future.

While Gov. Purdue’s office has made noises about vetoing this bad legislation, it is essential that we let the governor know we need an absolute commitment on her part to veto H.129.  We’ve seen how Big Telecom plays their dirty pool, so we cannot afford to sit back and allow their lobbyists to wear the governor down.

Gov. Purdue

When Time Warner Cable tried to slap an Internet Overcharging scheme on consumers in New York, North Carolina, and Texas in 2009, Stop the Cap! made a commitment to join forces with all of the impacted communities to present a united consumer front against provider abuses.  H.129 qualifies.  That’s why we urge everyone to contact Gov. Purdue and let her know she must veto H.129, an anti-consumer, anti-broadband bill.

Please call -and- e-mail her office:

 

Minor Correction Made 5/6 – 5pm ET: We made an error referring to a census tract instead of a census block in the original piece.  One of our readers dropped us a note correcting us, which we are happy to do.  A “tract” actually has many “blocks” in it.

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Arstal
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Arstal

Even a veto would be overridden. It’s a sad day in NC.

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