Day 2 – The Battle for North Carolina Broadband

A couple of weeks ago I spoke in Salisbury, NC to the Mayor, City Council, several state legislators and a couple hundred stakeholders/fans of the city’s Fibrant fiber network (the video’s embedded in Salisbury Post article). The gist of my talk was to spell out how to use the network to impact economic development.

Early on I told the audience I had supported N. Carolina’s previous fights for communities’ right to make their own broadband decisions, and promoted Salisbury’s, Wilson’s and Asheville’s networks at every opportunity. I pledged to continue to fight along with them again. Though I knew a Time Warner effort was lurking in the shadows, I didn’t expect the battle would come so quickly and with such a breadth of potential negative impact.

Luckily, the communities have had three previous battles to perfect their rapid response capabilities. Even though Time Warner’s NC legislative allies took Monday night as the opportunity to schedule a first showdown for today, yesterday citizens across the state struck back with a fury that obviously took some legislators by surprise. Today’s meeting was postponed for a week, and the bill’s author sent out an olive branch seeking to bring the two sides together to work out a compromise.

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