Continuing Push to Stop North Carolina Monopoly Protection Act

As part of the effort to stop the bill that will codify Time Warner Cable's monopoly in North Carolina, we published a press release today (previous coverage of the bill here):

While the rest of the world is working to become more innovative and competitive, the North Carolina General Assembly is considering a bill that will stifle innovation, hurt job creation and slow economic development. The Bill, H129/S87 will effectively prevent any community from building a broadband network and impose onerous restrictions on existing networks, including Wilson’s Greenlight and Salisbury’s Fibrant. Greenlight and Fibrant are the most technologically advanced citywide networks in the state, comparative to the best available in the U.S. and international peers, according to a study released by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) in November, 2010.

This bill will protect the aging networks of incumbent cable companies—furthering their effective monopolies—that have refused to invest in newer, faster technologies.

“This bill is a job and competitiveness killer. I don’t know why North Carolina wants to protect old technology, but if they want to get on the information super highway in a horse and buggy—the world is going to pass them by,” said Christopher Mitchell, Director of ILSR’s Telecommunications as Commons Initiative.

The bill says it is an act to “protect jobs,” a claim that puzzles Mitchell. “Community owned networks create jobs both directly and indirectly – and there is no evidence they have resulted in the elimination of any jobs.”

You can now Sign a petition showing your support for community networks in North Carolina - please make sure this link circulates among any contacts you have in NC!


Talking points for the fight


As these next 7 days go along, you may want to change up your talking points so you can swing back around and reach legislators a second and third time without repeating yourself.

Here’s my counterattack to the Time Warner bill – This can be broken down into several soundbites for both phone calls and for the comments section of any articles on the bill that appear on newspapers’ Web sites. If you’re really feeling the spirit, use some of these for short Letters to the Editor of your various local newspapers. Your letters don’t have to be long to be effective. Three or four short paragraphs can get your point across.

Elected representatives hate the unflattering light of bad press, particularly freshmen representatives. They barely have their feet wet and you’re holding those feet to the fire.

You’re not fighting this fight alone, North Carolina!