North Carolina

Wilson, NC fighting for right to offer broadband

Submitted by acohill on Thu, 04/23/2009 - 09:43

Wilson, North Carolina decided a couple of years ago to build it's own municipal fiber network after it got tired of begging incumbent providers for better services and getting turned down. Now the fight is being taken to the state legislature, where the incumbent providers are trying to get laws passed to prevent local governments from getting involved in telecom efforts but to also prevent local governments for applying for broadband stimulus funds. This is also happening in Pennsylvania.

Part of the problem is that Wilson selected a municipal retail model, which means residents and businesses buy their telecom services directly from the city, and incumbents typically fight this approach vigorously. An open access, open services model like those used with projects like The Wired Road and nDanville lets incumbent providers use the new community-owned digital road system to sell services--buyers of telecom services purchase directly from private sector providers, not the local government.

Wilson has started a blog on the issue.

NC paper blogs--will it work?

Submitted by acohill on Mon, 03/28/2005 - 10:47

A North Carolina paper has jumped feet first into blogging the news, with 11 news feeds written by reporters and staffers on the paper. The Greenboro News and Record thinks that the paper has no choice but to do this. I agree, as I wrote recently about this issue.

I've always thought the Web has great potential for newspapers, but they have to begin to see their role for what it really is--editing and writing, not printing black marks on paper. The Web is pure writing, and it frees newspapers to do that really well. Combined with the growing viability of advertising on the Web, newspapers can have a future.

But the most interesting thing in the article was that a newspaper is blogging. From the article:

Night cops reporter Eric Townsend, a 26-year-old who also contributes to a blog about traffic, said he's happy to post to the blog, but he thinks declining newspaper readership among the young is more a symptom of a decline in civic engagement than anything else. "Young people don't have a sense of involvement, a sense of community," he said. "It doesn't matter how many 'young' stories we do. I don't think blogs are the answer either."

What I see in under 30 people is an unhealthy attachment to their devices--their cellphones, their music players, their Gameboys--that keeps them tuned out and turned off from the world around them. Next time you walk down a town street, look at how many young people have on earphones--earphones that are blocking out the real world in favor of a world that they can manipulate.

Is this phenomenon important? It's too early to tell. But I do notice, as do many of my colleagues, the absence of young people at town meetings convened to talk about the future of the community. The ones that do show up are bright and engaged, and have typically have a lot to contribute.

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