North Carolina legislators seek to curtail municipal broadband efforts

Pushed by cable and phone companies, North Carolina legislators are again considering legislation that would make it harder for cities and towns to build their own broadband systems and effectively compete with cable and telco incumbents.

The Senate Finance Committee has, for the time being, shelved legislation that would require municipalities to get voter approval before starting their own broadband networks, but that doesn't mean the issue is dead. Far from it.

Sen. David Hoyle, the bill's sponsor, said that the legislation is intended to help municipalities from harming themselves. "They're going to own a cable system that may become obsolete and they're going to say to us, 'Please save us,'" Hoyle said, pointing to the case of Davidson and Mooresville, which built their own local cable system and now face a $6.4 million shortfall that the towns must cover.

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