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North Carolina flirts with a corporate oligopoly of ISPs

Rank political influence on display
Thu Mar 31 2011, 17:51

IT APPEARS that corporate political influence in the US might again trump the public interest in North Carolina.

As reported by Raw Story, the Republican dominated State Assembly has passed a bill to prohibit communities from upgrading their Internet infrastructure, forcing municipalities to buy Internet services from a cartel of corporate owned Internet service providers (ISPs), including Time Warner and Comcast.

Both Time Warner and Comcast have opposed the very concept that the US Federal Communications Commission has the power to impose regulations on ISPs to preserve Net Neutrality, and both have also begun restricting their subscribers' Internet bandwidth consumption.

These massive nationwide US ISPs are undoubtedly slobbering over the juicy prospect of metering broadband Internet access in the future to extract ever increasing cash from their captive subscribers for downloading videos, music and IPTV programmes.

The North Carolina bill was cobbled up after several communities in the state had successfully pursued their own fibre-optic broadband infrastructure developments. One project in the town of Wilson, North Carolina, delivers broadband Internet bandwidth of up to 100Mbps, and does so at lower prices than the corporate owned ISPs in the area.

Other North Carolina municipalities including Asheville, Bladenboro and Momeyer have passed resolutions condemning the Assembly bill favouring the big corporations' stranglehold on delivering Internet access throughout the state.

The text of this arguably politically influenced US state legislation is available online. The bill now goes to the North Carolina State Senate. µ


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