A recent article and video from Government Technology highlights the ambitious plans of Raleigh to harness the Internet to improve its attractiveness to forward-looking companies.
Unfortunately, Time Warner Cable convinced North Carolina's legislature that communities could not be trusted with the decision over whether it was a wise decision to invest in telecommunications networks.
So despite Raleigh's smart plans to build a fiber optic infrastructure that could be used to connect local businesses and spur new enterprises, it is prohibited from doing so. It can still offer services for free, which is why it can and does offer free Wi-Fi in some areas of town, but it cannot offer the services that would be most beneficial to the kind of companies that are most drawn to the Research Triangle Park area.
We look forward to a North Carolina that recognizes these decisions should be made at the local level, not by lobbyists working the state or federal capitals. But until then, we'll have to celebrate the jobs created by municipal networks in other states, where communities have the power to determine their own digital futures.
More than 121 Colorado cities and towns have now opted out of SB152, a 17-year old state law backed by telecom monopolies greatly restricting the construction and funding of community broadband alternatives. And the trend shows no sign of slowing down.
Since the launch of the Affordable Connectivity Program last January, millions of households have benefitted from the $30/month connection subsidy to help pay for their broadband bills. The program serves as a necessary bridge in a failed marketplace, dominated nationally by a small number of regional monopolies driven by shareholders to charge the highest price possible.