Friday, April 24, 2009

You think you hate Time Warner? Lets throw some fuel in that fire...

[caption id="attachment_2005" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Brian Bowman, the Director of Public Affairs for the city of Wilson, N.C., which runs the service, is fighting to keep state government from killing the competition in the area."]Brian Bowman, the Director of Public Affairs for the city of Wilson, N.C., which runs the service, is fighting to keep state government from killing the competition in the area.[/caption]

Lets say you lived in a city where they directly offered you a service where you could purchase 10/10Mbps internet, 81 TV channel and phone service.  Then you'd have a competitor like Time Warner offer a similar package but with fewer channels (not including Cartoon Network, Disney, The Science Channel, ESPNU, ESPN, or ESPN classic) and a lower upload speed for your internet.

The city offers their package (called Greenlight) for $99/month, and Time Warner offers theirs for $137.95/month.

Obviously any rational person is going to flock towards the $99 package the city offers.  Well Time Warner instead of trying to release a more competitive package against the city, has decided to lobby to get the state government to pass legislation to try and destroy its competition.  The sad thing is Time Warner may just get their wish.

North Carolina's State Senate proposed Senate bill 1004 & House Bill 1252 that would prevent local services from getting funding under the broadband portion of the national stimulus bill, but attempt to cripple or ban the local service all together.

In the city of Wilson, Brian Bowman is the Director of Public Affairs.  He recently launched a blog and said:
I have a 10Mbps up/down connection at my house.  Can't get half that from the cable company.  I buy it directly from the city of Wilson.  After less then a year of residential service, almost 3,000 Wilson citizens are subscribing to Wilson's fiber optic network.  Local businesses in town can get speeds up to 1Gbps.

If the cable & phone companies really want a level playing field, they'd open their books like like we do in the spirit of open meetings and open records law.  They don't want a level playing field, they just want to be the only team on the field.

Bottom line - these companies are using your state lawmakers to protect monopolies.  It was wrong in 2007 when a similar bill died in the house and it's wrong today.

According to a local newspaper, the City of Wilson initially approached Time Warner with a request for faster internet service for their residents, and the company refused, as it would cut into their profits.  So the city took it upon themselves to build their own network and sell the service to its citizens at a fraction of the cost.

I have to wonder how lawmakers can legally get away with trying to pass bills like these when they clearly seem anti-competitive.  The only way to prevent this type of thing from happening is to recall these corrupt people as clearly they don't hold any interest for their people.  The two senators sponsoring Senate bill 1004 are David W. Hoyle & Debbie A. Clary.  Their contact information can be found by simply clicking on their names.  For the house version of this bill, there are far too many people sponsoring this bill, just click on the House Bill 1252 link and look at the sponsors.

Seriously this type crap makes me sick...  If you're a resident of North Carolina, contact your House & Senate members and voice your disapproval.