North Carolina Can Wait No Longer for Broadband Solutions

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In Dec 2019, I spoke to the members of Gov Roy Cooper’s (D-NC) broadband task force and noted how, from the viewpoint of anyone looking objectively at the issue of broadband access, the public-private partnership model advocated by the NC League of Municipalities (NCLM) is a “no-brainer.” Obviously, a lot has happened in the world since then. The legislation that our organization backed, the FIBER NC Act, did not pass in 2020 largely based on opposition by the larger incumbent telecommunications companies. It has simply become unacceptable and unconscionable that a handful of companies stand in the way of allowing this to happen almost a decade after banding together to block municipalities from building and operating their own systems, and proclaiming as they did so that they would address the digital divide in the state. The North Carolina General Assembly should make its first priority upon meeting in January passage of legislation that incorporates the principles of the FIBER NC Act and takes another substantial step in closing our digital divide.

[Paul Meyer is the Executive Director of NC League of Municipalities]

Taking the Field: North Carolina Can Wait No Longer for Broadband Solutions