Jerry wanted to know what y'all think of this . . .

I haven't done a teaser before, so forgive me if this comes out looking afflicted.

Jerry Meek wanted to know what y'all think of this bill. The bold emphasis is mine, so don't pay it much mind:

H40 (also S112)
http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2007&BillID=H40

GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA

SESSION 2007

HOUSE BILL 40*

Short Title: E-NC Connectivity Incentives Funds.
(Public)

Sponsors:
Representatives Tolson; Clary, Hilton, Rapp, Parmon, Tucker, E. Warren, Wright, Alexander, Bell, Bryant, Coleman, Daughtridge, Faison, Glazier, Harrison, McLawhorn, Saunders, Underhill, and Wainwright.

Referred to:
Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House.

January 31, 2007

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

AN ACT to appropriate funds to the e-nc authority to increase the availability of internet connectivity in underserved areas of the state through incentive grants, to provide additional funding for general operations, to expand the funding for the e-nc business and technology telecenters program, and to provide incentives to e-communities, local e-government utilization program participants, and e-commerce initiatives.

Whereas, the e-NC Authority is successfully pursuing its mandated goals of increasing access to affordable high-speed Internet and creating 21st century jobs through technology-based economic development in the rural areas and the distressed urban areas of the State; and

Whereas, the e-NC Business and Technology Telecenters (BTTs) serve as catalysts to technology-based economic development in some of North Carolina's most distressed regions by helping to grow existing small businesses, bringing new kinds of businesses into rural communities and regions, stimulating and supporting entrepreneurship, and creating 21st century jobs; and

Whereas, the e-NC Authority works successfully with local governments, educational and health institutions, and business by providing technical assistance to strengthen their technology capacities and service their communities by making available to the citizens technology services and resources, training, and public access to computers and the Internet; and

Whereas, the e-NC Authority supports citizens and communities through research, tracking of broadband Internet resources, and by providing information about such infrastructure through GIS mapping on the e-NC Web site. This allows citizens and businesses to view service offerings of telecommunications companies. E-NC answers broadband service inquiries about broadband access from citizens and businesses, economic development commissions, local and State agencies, and attempts to enable the inquirer to receive a timely response to their concerns; and

Whereas, the work of the e-NC Authority has leveraged more than two hundred million dollars ($200,000,000) for investment into NC communities to carry out deployment of connectivity in working with private and public sector partners as well as more than eight million dollars ($8,000,000) leveraged with its other major programs such as the Business and Technology Telecenters. These figures do not include the direct job creation through the Business and Technology Telecenters in Tier 1 & 2 areas, where more than 900 jobs were created between 2001 and 2005; Now, therefore,

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1.(a) There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Department of Commerce for allocation to the e-NC Authority the sum of seven million five hundred thousand dollars ($7,500,000) for the 2007-2008 fiscal year and the sum of seven million five hundred thousand dollars ($7,500,000) for the 2008-2009 fiscal year to be used for high-speed Internet connectivity (build-out infrastructure) incentive grants for service providers. These funds shall not revert except upon subsequent action of the General Assembly.

SECTION 1.(b) The incentive grants shall be awarded on a competitive basis and shall require a minimum one hundred percent (100%) cash match from bidding service providers. Service providers shall fund at least fifty percent (50%) of the total project cost for each project. Companies shall ensure the number of additional households to be served as a result of the grant funding.

SECTION 1.(c) It is the intent of the General Assembly that the incentive grant funds shall be used to provide at least seventy percent (70%) of the households in each county with the ability to access high-speed Internet services by 2009. The amount of an incentive grant shall be awarded to the bid-winning service provider on a per household basis, for each new household for which access is made available. Incentives shall be provided only for households with no previous high-speed Internet service solutions available. Funds for incentive grants shall be committed to service providers by December 31, 2008.

SECTION 1.(d) The e-NC Authority may use up to five percent (5%) of these funds to cover its expenses in grant-letting and monitoring, and general operations.

SECTION 2. There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Department of Commerce to be allocated to the e-NC Authority the sum of three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000) for the 2007-2008 fiscal year and the sum of three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000) for the 2008-2009 fiscal year to be used as additional funding for general operations and research.

SECTION 3.(a) There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Department of Commerce to be allocated to the e-NC Authority the sum of two million dollars ($2,000,000) for the 2007-2008 fiscal year for continued and expanded funding of the e-NC Business and Technology Telecenters program.

SECTION 3.(b) The e-NC Authority may use up to five percent (5%) of these funds to cover its expenses in program development and implementation of activity areas with the Business and Technology Telecenters program.

SECTION 4. There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Department of Commerce for allocation to the e-NC Authority the sum of two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) for the 2007-2008 fiscal year and the sum of two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) for the 2008-2009 fiscal year to be used for competitive innovation grants to e-communities, Business and Technology Telecenters, local e-government Utilization Program participants, and e-commerce initiatives for the development of model programs and value-added products that enhance the economy of their regions.

SECTION 5. The e-NC Authority shall work cooperatively with the following entities to carry out the purposes of this act: the Department of Commerce, The University of North Carolina System, the Community Colleges System Office, the local councils of government, the local chambers of commerce, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, the North Carolina League of Municipalities, the Regional Economic Development Partnerships, local economic developers, and the private and nonprofit sectors. The e-NC Authority may contract with other State agencies, The University of North Carolina System, the Community Colleges System Office, and nonprofit organizations to assist with program development and the evaluation of program activities.

SECTION 6. This act becomes effective July 1, 2007.

Comments

Wish I had time to read all that...

However from my reading of the first paragraph I will tentatively say that I like the idea of getting internet to underserved areas of the state. I don't know that I would prioritize it over more basic needs, but I like the idea.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

HB40 Questions sent to Rep Rick Glazier for consideration

I believe Rep Glazier will do a blog post in response to questions posed yesterday. These are the questions we sent to his office:

* With many rural counties above 20% poverty is internet access really the best use of 15 million dollars?

* What alternatives to subsidizing private companies have been explored? Why isn't this money going to local governments instead?

* What tangibles will be included in the goal of internet 'access?' Will money be provided for public computers at rural libraries or other truly public access venues?

* The companies likely to receive the incentive funding from this bill are also part of the organized effort to undermine Net Neutrality. If Net Neutrality is eliminated, the goals of this bill will further out of reach. For example, the elimination of Net Neutrality would essentially make it impossible for local governments to serve businesses and citizens through their own service offerings. How will the incentive package deal with the fact that service providers, in working against Net Neutrality, are working in opposition to the goals of the bill?

- - - - -
Where Liddy At?
Where is Liddy?
Anyone seen Liddy?

Good questions

If he posts I hope he'll hang around and answer questions. I'd like to ask him about this rumor I keep hearing about him running for Larry Kissell's seat in the 8th Congressional District. I figure you hear a rumor more than once it is best to just take it to the subject of said rumor.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I'd like to add a question, if you don't mind

about rural "access" centers, like libraries.

Many of those sites have limited hours that coincide with work hours for many people. If folks want to talk advantage of e-learning opportunities such as those offered through the community college system, that becomes a real issue. Can thought be given to providing libraries (and other public centers if they exist) support to remain open additional hours so that the working poor might have better opportunity to get their hands on public internet access?

Thanks.

(and I still think that the big commercial providers are turning huge profits and don't need our tax money to run the lines - unless they agree not to raise rates in the state for the next 5 years, or something like that.)
_____________
The Den
It's your democracy; use it.

Only Four Questions?

For all that yammering we did?

I still think that the big commercial providers are turning huge profits and don't need our tax money to run the lines

I have to second that. I understand wire costs money; so do satellites, renting towers, all that stuff... but ... they ain't hurting in the pocket book.

Time Warner - I will NEVER have cable television until you give me a la carte. Are you listening? NEVER. I don't pay for television you should pay me to watch it. :P

I grew up with free TV - seven or eight stations - 2 from Canada. Paying for television? Not in my house. 80 bazillion channels and ending back up on the Weather Channel? Something's wrong. If we don't have monopolies in this country we have the next closest thing.

Circumventing the intention of the law through language. It stinks.

Sorry, Jerimee. I just had to get that off my chest. I feel better now. Thanks.

I added these questions

* Are you considering running for the 8th Congressional District?

* Can thought be given to providing libraries (and other public centers if they exist) support to remain open additional hours so that the working poor might have better opportunity to get their hands on public internet access?

* Will the incentive recipients agree not to raise rates for a specified period of time?

- - - - -
Where Liddy At?
Where is Liddy?
Anyone seen Liddy?

Thank you!

Much clearer questions.

_____________
The Den
It's your democracy; use it.

Seems like for $15 Million...

we could get one of the satellite companies to guarantee "access to high speed internet" to ALL residents of North Carolina. The bill doesn't do anything to actually provide the access, unless I missed that, it just gives money to business to build new cable and wire systems. Let's see, who would that be. Time-Warner Cable for cable access, and Bell South or whatever it is called these days for DSL. Right?

No, I think this bill stinks. Once again, it is front-loaded with language that makes it "seem" appealing, but is then backloaded with funds to help business make MORE money. It seems like a miniature version of the handouts to big oil that Democrats just ENDED.

Coming from a rural area, I think SOMETHING needs to be done, but I'm just not sure handouts to companies to string more wire is the thing to do.

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.
-me

This is

a horrible bill. We are paying these providers to expand their customer base. Its absurd.

Jerimee- Ask Jerry to look at even just the pictures from my post this morning. With many rural counties above 20% poverty is internet access really the best use of 15 million dollars?

Draft Brad Miller-- NC Sen ActBlue

"Keep the Faith"

There you go again

I was going to type pretty much the same message you did. Thanks for the timesaver.

BTW, I have high-speed internet from Time Warner and it's somewhere in the $40-$50 per month range. I can afford it, but I don't know if I would classify it as "affordable."

Additionally, last year the General Assembly allowed for the gutting of the local cable franchise system by passing the Local Video Service Competition Act. While promoted by the industry as a way to encourage competition, it takes away the authority of local governments to require full coverage in their jurisdictions. The authority comes from the government's granting of a utility to use public rights-of-way. Under the new law, a provider can cherry pick certain neighborhoods instead of being forced to provide services to all. "Competition" will possibly only benefit wealthy or dense neighborhoods to the detriment of those deemed to be less profitable. Once competition in an area reaches a certain level, even existing providers, usually cable, get out from under their franchise agreements. Do you think more rural or poorer neighborhoods will have cable or phone companies rushing to run fiber to homes there?

Dangit, everyone is going to know one of us is a sock puppet.

Seriously, though. My family lives in a very rural, very mountainous part of Pennsylvania. At one point they got a government grant for the school system to put satellite transfers of some sort in every town and a receiver in every house. Everyone had access to "high-speed" internet. Then, Time-Warner finally came through and gave them the wires they needed for Road Runner, now everyone does that. I'm not against public-private enterprises, so why not do something that will work? Why not some sort of tax break for any company that will replace old wires with newer ones capable of sending high-speed data?

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.
-me

Glad you read it...now I don't have to

I still like the idea, but if you say the method is wrong I'ma just gonna have to trust your judgment today.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Oh, please.

Don't trust me! It's in lawyerease, so there might very well be a provision that says "The party of the first part requires that the party of the second part, notwithstanding any duress under which said party's might be constrained by state, local, or regional statues and any federal obligations which regulate the telecommunications of electrons through semi-solids, will complete any and all such art as required by the party's agreement in Section I."

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.
-me

A separate point.

I'm not sure the e-NC Business and Technology Telecenters (BTTs) are a bad idea, in fact they seem like a good idea. I did the Google and found this information for instance.

Raleigh - Quintiles Transnational Corp. has selected the Northeast Technology and Business Center in Williamston as the location for a new data processing center. The Quintiles office will bring 60 new jobs to Martin County, all of which will offer salaries above the average local income.

The Northeast Technology and Business Center is one of seven e-NC Business and Technology Telecenters (BTTs) located in distressed regions of North Carolina. 'Creating jobs in our most distressed areas is one of the missions of the e-NC Business & Technology Telecenters, and we are proud of their success in driving technology-based economic development across the state," said e-NC Chair Oppie N. Jordan. Quintiles choice to locate in one of the telecenters, due to the available technology and surrounding workforce is an exciting accomplishment for Martin County, the Economic Development Corporation, and the BTT program.

There is also a table that suggests some real progress in all the BTT centers.
btt

That said, leave the handout to providers OUT OF IT.

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

I don't much like it either.

But I need to study it closer. Maybe we could get one of the sponsors to come by and explain why it's a good idea. The alternative to subsidizing private companies is to allow local governments to get involved, just like we do water and sewer.

This one gives me pause, despite the participation of people I generally respect (and a bunch I don't).

The alternative to

The alternative to subsidizing private companies is to allow local governments to get involved, just like we do water and sewer.

HB 1587 – Local Government Fair Competition Act, seeks to effectively keep municipalities out of the communications business and from having the option to provide services even to rural and poor urban areas commercial providers dont' want to have anyting to do wtih.

That would be great Jerimee

Should we call his office?

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I Don't Know any of the Sponsors or Co-Sponsors

So that said:

On the surface it sounds like a good idea. I'm with SP - I have RR. I love it. But for me, that same 44.95/m. means I have chosen to give up something else to have it. I know there are plenty of people who would like to have a choice but squeezing that amount out of a small budget would be giving up food.

What does this mean?:

tracking of broadband Internet resources

Another question. Does this 'access' include any tangibles? Like $$ to the library(s) of rural areas or other truly public access venues? I'd like to see some of that. Even though my county doesn't really qualify as rural anymore.

Our computer area is one of the busiest sections of the library. All the time.

I'll pick through the legalese when my brain catches up with my body. (or is it the other way around?) Chartreuse could probably pick out ... ambiguity for us if she isn't too busy.

Do have Rep. Glazier come discuss if he can. I'd like to match the vision of intent with the language.

Unique

I'd like to match the vision of intent with the language.

Those are some mighty pretty words. :) I just like the sentence.
_____________
The Den
It's your democracy; use it.

Not to pile on...

But, they're all right. This bill does nothing but give Time-Warner, ComCast, and BellSouth more money to make their services available.

Give the money to the communities with the express purpose of developing, building, and maintaining real internet services. Don't pay big money to communications companies just so they can bilk North Carolinians.

The irony is that tax dollars (taken from the citizens) would be used to fund projects which would require the citizens to pay additionally for the service that they just funded.

Thomas S. Brock
www.brocknet.net
http://blogs.brocknet.net/brocklog/

Thomas

What have YOU done today to make the world a better place?

In parts of Moore County (which is not really underserved)

our local newspaper (The Pilot) provides free wireless access. They started in Southern Pines, where their office is located. I believe they have expanded to other areas of the county now. West Southern Pines, one of the first areas where free wi-fi was available, is by and large low-income. It's great that there is free internet access. I've often wondered, though, how helpful that is to folks who can't afford a computer.

I think the bill is kinda crappy, too. Giving people tires when they don't have a car to put it on sucks. Then giving the car company incentive on top of it? That sucks too. Am I reading it incorrectly?

The irony is that tax dollars (taken from the citizens) would be used to fund projects which would require the citizens to pay additionally for the service that they just funded.

Hah! Exactly!!
_____________
The Den
It's your democracy; use it.

Free access

A resident of Southern Pines can also get free access to a computer and the internet- at the library. The computers get a lot of use too...

High Speed

My 2 cents is that you all are missing that this isn't just about getting basic internet access into homes, it's also about getting high-speed access for small business. I know several folks in rural areas who attempted to start small online businesses, only to find out that uploading on a dial-up is impractical to the point of impossibility.

One of my friends in Virgina has a start-up that employs 3 additional people. While he lives in a rural county, his business and employees are based in urban Richmond, because that's where he could get decent internet access.

Speaking of internet access, apparently folks at the General Assembly can't properly view BlueNC. I'm going to email Lance and see if I can help fix this. You had better believe the General Assembly can access the Civitas website no problem.

- - - - -
Where Liddy At?
Where is Liddy?
Anyone seen Liddy?

Let me guess, the GA uses IE?

It would make sense.

If you read above, you'll see that I just posted that the BTT centers are a good idea, seems they are earning their keep as well! But, that doesn't seem to be the focus of this bill, which wants to give handouts to telecomm who will agree to provide "access" to everyday consumers. Two different issues.

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.
-me

Maybe..

But, as Robert suggested, just flat-out paying for satellite internet service for interested businesses would do the same thing and cost a lot less than running wires everywhere. Additionally, as some of us were getting at, why pay Time Warner, etc. to do something when (a) they are doing their darndest to get out of providing services to all but the easiest to serve and (b) there is a bill out there surely supported by the commercial providers to essentially make it impossible for local governments to serve businesses and citizens through their own service offerings?

They're using Internet Explorer more than likely

We'll be happy to help usher the General Assembly into the 21st Century by introducing them to Firefox.....and yes, I'm being a smartass.

Jerimee - remember Civitas/JLF etc is heavily funded by a sugar daddy - Art Pope. They probably even have some professional techy-type person on hand part or full time. BlueNC isn't heavily funded by anybody.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

IE it is

Very much so.

Plus, don't you think it is ironic...

that the person responsible for the dead, static, NCDP site is giving us grief.
: )

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.
-me

I Wish You'd Tell

me what you're talking about. (I have a PM, you know)

Speaking of internet access, apparently folks at the General Assembly can't properly view BlueNC.

well no wonder they're lost. LOL. This is where the action is - this is The People's Think Tank.

I downloaded FF for free and switch back and forth between FF and IE. If a TechNoNot like me can do it, anyone can do it.

Nice and clean

i like it a lot.

I like it too

I'll wait until you're finished to see if I can still find everything. I liked the old site just b/c I knew where everything was. I do like the color scheme a lot.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Color Scheme

It's ok. I don't care for the beige, actually. But that's just me. The look is very clean, and a vast improvement. Can't wait for the content. :-D
_____________
The Den
It's your democracy; use it.

color scheme

I don't like the color scheme. The beige is too neutral and could psychologically reflect to some the Democratic Party's unwillingness to take a stand on important issues.

While some of you are laughing at that statement, I am serious about how colors do affect people, particularly if they have a predisposed mindset.

While red, white and blue might be cliche, it's also what people expect from a political party.

If you want to add other colors, fine, but please stick to vibrant, primary ones that will create a sense of excitement.

Also, lose the outline type on the "About the Party" page for District Conventions 2007. I don't think there's a good reason to ever use outline type.

Feel free to email me if you want to discuss more. I'm a designer.

Beige?`

I don't see no beige. The background is gray on my computer, which seems fine.

I agree about red being missing, though. Maybe do something a bit more "patriotic" with the state/stars/logo. How about a rebel flag? : )

I agree with VDNC. There's almost never a good reason to use an outline typeface. Sort of like there's almost never a good reason to use a semi-colon.

Now cut that out!

just because you like the word 'and'.

yes, beige! (or tan, taupe, whatever)

Time for a new monitor, Anglico! There's definitely a light tint of brown on the sidebar with the icons.

Semicolons are useful, especially when you're tired of using compound sentences or you don't want to write short, choppy sentences. Semicolons are simply another item in the writer's toolbox. Some will use them; others won't.

Just remember, A -

If the two clauses cannot stand alone - don't use a semi-colon.

My writer's toolbox

does not include semicolons.

If I need one (and I have not needed one in the past 28 years of writing all day every day) I will go borrow one from somebody else's cluttered toolbox. But somehow I think I'll do just fine without.

Here, let me fix that for you

There's almost never a good reason to use an outline typeface; sort of like there's almost never a good reason to use a semi-colon.

My work here is done.

Whether it's right or wrong,

the fifteen million may balloon into (a lot?) more, because if the current rural market is not enough to entice the providers to install it themselves, there won't be enough income to support the servicing of the system either.

This may be a key factor in continuing the growth of rural areas in the future, but right now there are serious issues about access, infrastructure, utilities, etc., that can/do severely limit rural growth.

There are a few here who are much more versed in rural issues (and internet potentialities), but that 15 million (imo) is needed elsewhere badly.

Public Access

Public access required. Lower rates for consumers. If you get my tax money - hey, can I get something back?

$44.95 is a big bite.

"Bundle your services for a deal! Get all 3; cable, internet, telephone - what a savings!" NOT.

So 30, 60, 90 is cheaper than $134.95 . Big fat hairy deal. I only want 2 out of 3 anyway. In my world, $90 might as well be a hundred. YMMV.