After a few days of false hope, the Time Warner Cable Monopoly Protection Act, H129, passed the House Finance Committee after being stripped of the amendments that would have allowed communities without access to real broadband to build their own networks.
Faison’s amendment was designed to open the door to someone — anyone – to bring broadband into rural areas of the state. While Time Warner Cable, AT&T, and CenturyLink dawdle, large numbers of rural residents simply go without any broadband service. Faison’s amendment was simple and reasonable — if at least half of an area is not served with 4/1Mbps service, provisions should be made to allow local communities, if they wish, to establish service themselves to get the job done.
Last week, when Faison’s amendment appeared to be headed for incorporation into the bill, industry lobbyists blanched and fled the room, raising vocal objections and demanding a week timeout before a vote was taken. After winning their reprieve, they managed to get the Republican majority in line to throw rural North Carolina under the bus, uniformly opposing Faison’s amendment. Two Democrats, one representing the city where Time Warner Cable’s regional division is headquartered, joined them.
In its place, they substituted a new amendment which defined broadband in the state of North Carolina as any service occasionally capable of achieving 768kbps downstream and 200kbps upstream. That represents “well-served” among these industry-friendly legislators.
This came after an excellent exposé showing Representatives annoyed to be asked why they are pushing Time Warner Cable's bill (to the detriment of every other business and citizen of North Carolina) after taking large contributions from telecommunications companies.
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Others have taken notice as well - see this political cartoon...Read more