Rep. Avila on H129, the Broadband bill

Sponsor Rep. Marilyn Avila, R-Wake, explains why she felt restrictions on public broadband systems were necessary.

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Laura Leslie

H129 sponsor Marilyn Avila, R- Wake, didn't say much on the House floor today during the concurrence vote on her bill. (That's not unusual when lawmakers have counted noses and know they have the votes needed.) But after the vote that sent H129 to the governor, she was happy to explain why she felt the measure was needed. 

Critics of the bill lined up at one committee meeting after another to testify that their communities hadn't considered getting into the broadband business until Time Warner Cable refused to bring the service to their area.  

Avila defended the cable company. Local officials, she said, "had a level of service they wanted, which happened to be fiber-optic, which is the most expensive there is out there.  And private industry having to meet the rules of making a profit and staying above-board in order to stay in business, it was not economically feasible for them."  

So why not let cities offer what the big telcos won't? 

"Municipalities' core services are being damaged by this particular approach," Avila said. "They are able to subsidize their telecommunications enterprise when it loses money with other enterprise funds like electricity funds or water and  sewer, and these I feel have higher priority than telecommunications. "  

Shouldn't the cities decide what core services are?  "Well, that's true to some degree. But they didn't ask their citizens if they wanted to pay for that, if they saw that as a core service."

Watch the interview at right. 

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