After multiple attempts in the past four legislative sessions, large telecommunications providers have finally succeeded at preventing municipalities from facilitating community broadband services in North Carolina. Despite expressing concerns that industry-supported legislation would result in poorer service for communities, Governor Bev Perdue failed to veto House Bill 129, allowing it to become law without her signature. The law is particularly detrimental in rural areas, where the private sector has refused to provide service because they do not see profits.
In a statement explaining her inaction, Gov. Perdue admitted ,
“My concern with House Bill 129 is that the restrictions the General Assembly has imposed on cities and towns who want to offer broadband services may have the effect of decreasing the number of choices available to their citizens.”
Then why not act on behalf of these cities and towns? The failure to veto this detrimental bill sacrifices the interests of local economies in favor of the bottom line interests of internet service providers in North Carolina.
Along with South Carolina and Arkansas, North Carolina now joins an unfortunate pack of 16 states that restrict their cities, municipalities, and towns from building and operating broadband networks. The timing could not have been worse, as the fate of many states’ uncertain economic recoveries depend on investing in 21st century infrastructure like broadband, supporting small businesses, and putting Americans back to work.
As Progressive States Network has previously reported, local governments and non-profits have stepped up to the plate to provide needed infrastructure to their communities. And they have done it on their own, meeting their populations’ needs, and even getting ahead of large corporate broadband providers. It is too bad that Governor Perdue did not step up to the plate for her state.
Full Resources from this Article
Ars Technica – North Carolina governor refuses to block anti-muni broadband law 
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