NC moves forward with anti-muni broadband bill while NJ backs off cable deregulation

State lawmakers have gone in different directions with two pieces of broadband legislation. In North Carolina, a bill that creates significant hurdles for municipalities trying to establish their own broadband networks breezed through the House by 81-37; in New Jersey, a bill that would deregulate major aspects of cable and telephone service stalled in the Senate.

The North Carolina legislation is the latest iteration of an effort that's been going on for years. Supporters, such as Rep. Julia Howard say that it's needed to prevent "predatory" challenges to the private sector. Opponents claim that "the state government is essentially robbing the citizens of the right to self-governance."

In New Jersey, the deregulation legislation drew immediate and vehement opposition from local officials and organizations like AARP as "a bill that would release the cable companies from a lot of their obligations, not just to municipalities but to all kinds of other people, including consumers," Montclair Councilman Nick Lewis said. Montclair actually passed a resolution opposing the bill and Lewis testified in Trenton against the bill.

The bill, called the Market Competition Consumer Choice Act, is supported by Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and Cablevision Systems (NYSE: CVC).

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