Broadband fight continues in North Carolina

Submitted by acohill on Wed, 05/05/2010 - 09:08

A knock down, drag out fight over the right of communities to control their economic future continues in North Carolina. Via Save NC Broadband, the City of Salisbury, North Carolina is struggling to put a stop to a state legislature proposal to ban community investments in broadband. The cable companies in North Carolina are encouraging the ban, and as the editorial notes in the link above, this is really about the right of communities to determine their own future. As is often the case, using a roads analogy helps put it in perspective: "... That's like letting one or two asphalt companies determine the future of North Carolina's roads."

Communities need modern digital road systems that will help retain existing businesses and assist with attracting new ones. It almost beggars belief that NC legislators want to cripple economic development and drive businesses into neighboring states like Virginia, where community fiber projects like nDanville have brought more than 550 new high tech jobs to Danville, Virginia in the past year. Danville's open access network does not compete with the private sector because all services are being offered by private sector companies, which creates a win-win situation. The City of Danville has lowered the cost of offering high performance broadband and created new business opportunities for private sector firms. This "third way" approach to broadband is a win-win approach to community broadband that neatly balances public and private interests.

In a natural monopoly like

In a natural monopoly like telecom infrastructure, public policy should encourage the development of alternative, efficient business models to provide it.

There's a very strong rationale for this. If the existing business model of an infrastructure provider is economically inefficient or fails, it doesn't just take down the provider. It degrades the infrastructure itself and in fact suppresses competition among entities who want to provide telecom services and content over that infrastructure.

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