Sunday, May 03, 2009

NC county opposes broadband black hole preservation act

The notion held by big telcos that their service areas are proprietary, exclusive franchises isn't sitting well with the Rockingham County, North Carolina Board of Commissioners. The board voted unanimously last week to oppose state legislation that would prohibit local governments from providing communications services to areas that private companies don’t serve.

More power to them. A telco's service territory is not a franchise. Telcos can't have it both ways, claiming they can't serve certain areas with advanced digital services because they are unprofitable but at the same time looking to state legislatures to lock up these areas with these broadband black hole preservation acts.

They're patently unfair to those mired in them: Residents and small businesses that needed high speed Internet access yesterday, last year and five years ago. They should not have to suffer the consequences of private market failure. Local governments and nonprofit telecom cooperatives should be permitted to step in where the private sector fails and provide the urgently needed solutions to bridge the digital divide unhindered by these audicious telco power grabs.

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