Stop NC HB 1587: Prevent Big Telecom from killing Muni WiFi

As I write this NC HB 1587 is before the Utilities Committee for consideration. Big Telecommunications companies want to prevent democratically elected bodies from bringing broadband Internet access to everyone.

Please ask your state Rep to vote No or ask their colleague to vote No!

Please email your local State Rep and ask them to VOTE NO on HB 1587. Here is a Microsoft Excel document with a list of the Utilities Committee members. They are from the following counties: Randolph, Rowan, Rockingham, Nash, Hallifax, Mecklenburg, Onslow, Guilford, Iredell, Surrey, Yadkin, Davie, Iredell, Cumberland, New Hanover, and Pender Counties.

Here is what the NC League of Municipalities had to say about this bad bill:

Telecom companies want to restrict local government authority to provide communications services to citizens

Last session, the telecommunications companies pushed for and won statewide franchising of video services, claiming that the local franchising process hampered competition. That state franchising legislation imposed very little regulation and did not require companies to serve an entire community.

Now, the telecom companies are pushing HB 1587 ­ Local Government Fair Competition Act, which would place significant roadblocks and restrictions on any local government that wants to provide communications services ­ including cable, telephone, electronic voice, data, audio or video transmission and Internet access ­ to its citizens.

Access to high-speed broadband service is critical for the future economic development of our state as we attempt to replace our lost textile, tobacco, and furniture jobs. HB 1587 will effectively prevent local governments from bringing high-speed broadband to North Carolina communities, especially to rural and distressed urban areas. Through their opposition to build-out requirements, the industry has made it clear they have no intention of investing in such areas.

Municipalities are already subject to numerous public scrutiny and public accountability requirements for all infrastructure projects. These new Draconian requirements are simply designed to prevent deployment of local broadband networks, whether done alone or even in partnership with the private sector.

The League opposes HB 1587 because it seeks to undermine local authority to undertake enterprise activities ­ authority that has been upheld by the courts.

This bill was scheduled for discussion before the House Public Utilities Committee this week, but was not taken up. Please call your representatives and ask them to oppose this bill.


You decide

Whose side would you go for:

The League of Municipalities which is comprised of local governments all across the state who want to make sure everybody has access to the Tubes . . .

or telecom companies who offer expensive access that many people can't afford

The state needs to stop dictating policies that are legitimately the business of local jurisdictions.

New info on HB 1587

The House Utilities committee met yesterday. They tabled the vote until wed. june 6. Plus they added some really bad stuff to the bill. Now localities "could" become telecommunications service providers BUT would be subject to all kinds of bad stuff. I wrote about it on in a post called HB1587 is still bad. Please check it out and consider emailing your House Rep.

I've Got Your Back, Brian


Although you don't really represent me, you really do. I live -in XXXXXX County but I live in the other half.

I saw your stance on XXXXXXXX in the paper and I thought, 'Hey. This guy represents me. I feel like that, too.'

And when you stop to think about it, when it comes to things like HG1578 - you represent me there as well. These issues involve the entire state. When your specific representative isn't on that particular committee, or worse - they are non-responsive, that hurts.

Etc. Etc. Etc.

-require municipality to hold 2 public forums
-require municipality to create a business plan
-require municipality to hold a special election (!)
prevent a municipality from subsidizing a service
-the municipality must PAY ITSELF PROPERTY TAX as if it were a private company
-must open up ALL of its property to private use for communications businesses (poles, right of way, conduits, facilities…)
-must keep separate books on this venture
-shall conduct an individual annual audit
-the municipality must pay equal to or GREATER the amount of liability insurance as a private provider would pay
-GRANDFATHER all localities that are defined as a “public utility” BEFORE the date this bill passes

The bolding is mine - YMMV

thanks Unique

Thanks for writing your NC Representative!

HB1587 is in Finance Committee

Yes HB1587 is still alive. Please contact the members of the NC House Finance Committee and tell them HB1587 is bad for North Carolina. Here are the counties that have Reps on this committee.
Alleghany, Anson, Brunswick, Caldwell, Caswell Camden, Catawba, Columbus, Craven, Currituck, Davie, Davidson, Durham, Edgecombe, Forsyth, Guilford, Harnett, Henderson, Iredell, Lenoir, Mecklenburg, New Hanover, Polk, Orange, Pasquotank, Surry, Transylvania, Tyrell, Union, Wake, Wilson,

If you live in one of these counties tell your Mayor and Council (or Alderman) about the importance of local goverment having the right to build broadband networks. If they speak out it will really help defeat HB1587. Tell that the League of Municipalities is very much against HB1587

You can download an excel file with the Names and contact info for all Finance Committee members and their aids here.

Chapel Hill and Carrboro oppose hb1587

Both the Town of Chapel Hill and Carrboro have passed resolutions opposing hb1587. They join the Cities of Wilson and Fayetteville in doing so.

That's Interesting

Why would it be in their interest to do that?
Please help me connect those dots ...

Community wireless gives EVERYONE access.

Most of those people won't be using little-known sites or functions. they'll be Googling movie times, store hours, facts for their kids school project, etc. Every new person on the web means more business for those guys, if it is "free", that means a lot more people on the web.

One man with courage makes a majority.
- Andrew Jackson

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.


So voting 'yes' or being in favor would not grant them an 'automatic' monopoly-type situation then, correct?

Who would gain by a 'yes' vote? Not the constituency for sure - so who would then?


Similar Reasoning

From Google:

We support strong, fair and open competition to ensure users can enjoy the widest range
of choice and opportunities to access content online. The United States is rapidly losing
ground to other nations in per capita broadband deployment, access to high-capacity
networks, cost per unit of bandwidth, and growth of new broadband user. States can ill
afford to enact measures like HB1587, which impair the ability of the public sector to
work hand-in-hand with the private sector to reverse these trends...
...Google is a strong supporter of public-private partnerships for economic development,
educational opportunity, digital inclusion, and quality of life in North Carolina. HB1587
threatens to undermine the establishment of such partnerships, particularly in rural and
high-cost urban areas of North Carolina, which the state's incumbent providers are
serving either poorly or not at all. Google

From Intel:

Because circumstances vary, however, statewide blanket prescriptions are unwise. Some municipalities may find private sector partners able to provide all of their services. Others may find private partners able to provide some, but not all, of the services they require. Still others – because of their small size or remote location – may not find any private sector partners willing or able to provide their services. The key is that municipalities use open, transparent and neutral processes to determine the reasonable level of private sector involvement, and apply their ordinances and rules without discrimination in favor of themselves or affiliated providers.