OT Committee OKs Bill to Limit Municipal Telecom Plans aka if they're going to get ya they're goin t

Discussion in 'Wireless Internet' started by NotMe, Jun 15, 2007.

  1. NotMe

    NotMe Guest

    Target is municipal cable but the impact will be on Hotspots as well.


    Committee OKs Bill to Limit Municipal Telecom Plans

    Posted: Jun. 6, 2007
    Updated: Jun. 7, 2007

    Raleigh — A bill that would limit municipal efforts to provide
    telecommunications services cleared a House committee Wednesday after a
    tense hearing.

    Cable television and telephone companies are backing House Bill 1587, which
    would put restrictions on cities and counties that try to offer residents
    such services, including high-speed Internet.

    "It's an issue of fair competition and local government not using their
    taxing and borrowing authority in a way that gives them a competitive
    advantage over private business," said Randy Fraser, a lobbyist for Time
    Warner Cable.

    The bill would require municipal communications services to charge taxes so
    their rate structure is comparable to that of a private service and would
    prevent government workers from working for the cable or Internet service
    while being paid by another department.

    Wilson officials plan to borrow and spend $30 million by next January to
    wire the city for high-speed Internet, cable and phone service. They said
    they are tired of waiting for Time Warner to upgrade service to the town,
    which isn't seen as a major profit center because of its size.

    Most government offices are already connected by fiber-optic cables, along
    with two of Wilson's biggest businesses.

    "The bill you are considering would be a devastating blow to local
    governments all across the state," Wilson Mayor Bruce Rose told members of
    the Committee on Public Utilities Wednesday.

    Industry representatives fired back that many municipalities have failed at
    the cable business before, costing taxpayers millions.

    The bill cleared the committee and was sent to the House Finance Committee.
    As a compromise, lawmakers stripped out a provision that would require a
    voter referendum before getting into the telecommunications business.

    But local government representatives said they aren't giving up their fight
    against the measure.

    "The telecommunications industry is very wise and strategic, and they
    introduced the bill in a committee that they knew it would pass. We simply
    wanted to get our message heard, and we're preparing for the next battle
    that lies ahead," Wilson City Manager Grant Goings said.

    "This isn't David versus Goliath. This is David versus Goliath and all his
    cousins," Rose said.

    a.. Reporter: Cullen Browder http://www.wral.com/rs/bio/1012040/
    b.. Photographer: Richard Adkins
    c.. Web Editor: Matthew Burns
    NotMe, Jun 15, 2007
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