HB1587 Changed, Sent to Study Committee

From many reports of those who attended this mornings NC House Finance Committee meeting it appears we dodged a bullet. HB1587 was changed and a new one took its place. The new bill calls for a committee to "study local government owned and operated communication services."

Also I heard,

The Senior Chair of the Committee, Luebke, spoke up and thanked the "tremendous grass roots effort" which led to "this initiative." He added: "Citizens have made a difference in this case."

To me this proves we can make a difference. But I remain vigilant. Big telco will not give up. Nor will their paid lobbyist and lawyers. Neither should we!

Here is the full text. (Thanks to Mark Turner for extruding this from the pdf and sharing it)


Committee Substitute Favorable 6/7/07

7/19/2007 6:20:15 PM

Short Title: The Local Gov’t Fair Competition Act.

April 19, 2007


The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1. The Joint Legislative Utility Review Committee may study local government owned and operated communication services. The Committee may propose legislation, if appropriate, to regulate the operation of local government owned and operated communications services. In making this study, the Committee shall consider:

1. The adequacy of coverage of communications services offered by currently private providers across the state, including rural and other high costs areas.
2. The adequacy of communications services currently offered by local governments.
3. The private and public costs and the benefits of providing communications service through a private communications service provider compared to a local government owned communications service provider, including the effect on existing and future jobs, actual economic development prospects, tax-base growth, education, and public health.
4. The effect on competition with privately owned communications services of local government owned and operated communication services.

SECTION 2. The Committee may make an interim report of its findings and recommendations to the 2007 General Assembly, Regular Session 2008, and shall submit a final report to the 2009 Session of the General Assembly.

SECTION 3. The Legislative Services Officer shall allocate funds appropriated to the General Assembly for the expenditures of the Joint Legislative Utility Review Committee in conducting this study.

SECTION 4. This act is effective when it becomes law.

Here is the new HB1587 - Proposed Committee Substitute Favorable 6/7/07 [PDF]

Its important to note in Section 2 there is a timeline. This gives us more time to build our grassroots movement to protect municipal broadband.

Overall I'm pretty happy with the outcome of todays meeting, but am connivence we have a lot of work yet to do. In another post I will share what that could be and write some analysis of our mission to protect public broadband. Please leave your ideas in the comments.

I want to thank Sally Greene and Mark Kleinschmidt for going to meetings, staying concerned, passing a resolution, and working hard to stop HB1587. Also a big thanks to the Chapel Hill Town Council, the Carrboro Board of Alderman, and the Orange County Commissioners for passing resolutions against old HB1587. Also THANK YOU to the 60+ municipalities, organizations, and corporations that passed opposition resolutions and wrote letters. Your voices really made a big difference. PLUS thank you Rep. Insko, Rep. Hackney, and all the Reps on the Finance Committee. THANK YOU for changing this bill!


Gotta love those grass roots!

Thanks for all your good work on this one, Brian.

There are so many things to keep up with these days . . . it's gratifying to know that good guys like you are covering these bases and keeping us engaged when we need to be.

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We Can't Forget -

From my Inbox:

This bad bill -- written by AT&T and Time Warner -- would have eliminated the ability of cities and towns to build high-speed broadband networks to connect communities that have been overlooked by these phone and cable giants.

This bill will not be acted on until after a "study committee" report in 2009. At that time, the bill could still be voted on depending on the committee's recommendations.

You can help make sure that doesn't happen. Urge your members of Congress to support a bill that allows towns and cities to offer an Internet alternative. Support the "Community Broadband Act of 2007":

Thanks to everyone for their hard work. Now is the time for more choices - not fewer choices for consumers and local governments.

But the communications giants won't give up. They want it all.

ACT NOW: Internet for Everyone in North Carolina

This important bill would not only stop the bad bill in North Carolina, it would prevent Internet monopolies from attempting to stifle municipal broadband in other states.

North Carolina has fallen behind other states in high-speed Internet access. According to FCC data, the state ranks 41st in the nation in high-speed broadband adoption. In broadband growth rate, North Carolina ranks 47th.

This is an important issue for Lake Norman

There is a debate over Mooresville and Davidson acquiring the bankrupt Adelphia system ... and many citizens are against it. But governments should have the choice.

1 Thessalonians 5:21: But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks