North Carolina Needs Better Broadband
Whereas, our state is facing unprecedented rates of unemployment; and
Whereas, many employment ads can only be found or responded to online; and
Whereas, obtaining unemployment benefits online provides more time for job seekers to be out finding jobs; and
Whereas, affordable, high-speed broadband service has become essential to work and life; and
Whereas, affordable, high-speed broadband service is vital for attracting high-paying, knowledge-worker jobs; and
Whereas, North Carolina has fallen behind other states in broadband access, ranking 41st out of the 50 states; and
Whereas, cable bills continue to rise at a rate that far outpaces inflation; and
Whereas, many of North Carolina's rural residents have no access high-speed broadband service; and
Whereas, fiber Internet provides near-limitless capacity for growth, and now even China has more homes wired for fiber than the U.S does; and
Whereas, some North Carolina municipalities have built their own fiber broadband networks to serve their citizens when commercial providers would not; and
Whereas, Rep. Avila's H129 and Senator Apodaca's S87, the so-called "Level Playing Field" bill, sponsored by the large cable and phone companies, will have the effect of shutting down North Carolina's existing, and curtailing new, municipal fiber broadband networks and permanently removing any real broadband competition in the state; and
Whereas, H129/S87 will prevent public/private partnerships in the deployment of broadband, including Google Fiber, for which more than 40 NC communities applied, and
Whereas, these bills will limit our state to being served by the outdated broadband infrastructure provided by the state's large cable and telcos companies, or, for our rural areas, no broadband service at all.
Therefore, we the undersigned oppose, and ask the General Assembly to oppose, H129 and S87 because these bills will deny us broadband, jobs and investment in our state by leaving the residents and businesses of North Carolina at the mercy of its large cable and telephone companies who are NOT investing in advanced broadband in our state, and especially not in our rural areas. We demand the General Assembly change its focus to getting its citizens and businesses more broadband in North Carolina, not less.