Looks like it's about to get more difficult for local governments to offer broadband services even where cable companies don't. Gov. Bev Perdue said today she will allow House Bill 129 to become law without her signature.
Under H129, municipal broadband programs like Wilson's "Project Greenlight" would be pretty much impossible to replicate if a cable company serves just 50% of the households in the area with "high-speed" internet.
Telecoms, notably Time-Warner and Embarq, sought the legislation to protect them against what they say is unfair competition by local governments, who have advantages private businesses don't. But proponents of public broadband said the point of the measure was to block competition that might have forced telecoms to lower their prices, improve their services, or both.
Governor Bev Perdue today issued the following statement on House Bill 129:
“I believe that every school, household and business in North Carolina – no matter where they are – should have access to efficient and affordable broadband services.
"There is a need to establish rules to prevent cities and towns from having an unfair advantage over providers in the private sector. 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.
"For these reasons, I will neither sign nor veto this bill. Instead, I call on the General Assembly to revisit this issue and adopt rules that not only promote fairness but also allow for the greatest number of high quality and affordable broadband options for consumers.”