Governments build roads, sewer systems and occasionally power grids. So why not a communications infrastructure in a era when the Internet is considered a must?
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As time runs out on the future of affordable, fast, and reliable broadband in North Carolina, more are calling on Governor Perdue to veto H129, the bill pushed by Time Warner Cable to kill local authority to invest in essential infrastructure. If Governor Perdue does nothing, the bill will become law at midnight as Friday, May 20, draws to a close.
In the final hours, more have called on the Governor to veto the Time Warner Monopoly Act (which we have discussed ad nauseum here), including Michael Tiemann, a vice president from Red Hat, one of the most well known Gnu/Linux distributions.
The letter was published on Rootstrikers.org, a community dedicated to fighting all the corruption in politics that allows massive companies like Time Warner Cable to buy legislation.
Dear Governor Perdue,
We are strong supporters of your leadership and your campaign, and we would like to be heard on the important issue of community broadband. I know you are not afraid to use your veto pen, and so I ask you to veto H129, a bill that will take the future away from North Carolina and put it into the pockets of cable company monopolists.
On Sunday May 15th you may have read about our latest investment in North Carolina, Manifold Recording. This was the feature story in the Arts & Living section, and the top right-hand text box on the front page. One of the most difficult and expensive line-items in this multi-million dollar project was securing a broadband link to the site in rural Chatham County. I spent more than two years begging Time Warner to sell me a service that costs 50x more than it should, and that's after I agreed to pay 100% of the installation costs for more than a mile of fiber. As part of a revised Conditional Use Permit (approved last night), I presented to the Commissioners and the Planning Board of Chatham County data on the economic investment I made, and the fact that according to the statistics from the Rural Broadband Coalition, that such an investment was worth about $300,000 to the 100+ neighbors who live along the new fiber link that I paid for.
Such heroics should not be necessary, nor should they be so costly.
I spent 10 years in Silicon Valley, and I know how quick they are to adopt new technologies that help people start and grow businesses. Manifold Recording would have remained a pipe-dream without broadband. But not everybody can afford to pay $1000/month for the slowest class of fiber broadband. Community broadband initiatives reach more people faster, at lower costs, leading to better economic development. Take it from me: had I been able to spend the time and money on community broadband that I spent in my commercial negotiations, there would be more jobs in Chatham County today.
For more information, which I strongly encourage you to have someone on staff research, please review http://www.rootstrikers.org/story/community-broadband/ . There, you will see that "as goes North Carolina, so goes the nation." We cannot afford to ruin either our own prospects for an economic recovery led by new technologies and new business nor the prospects for an America recovery.