North Carolina broadband law to go into effect

Author: Emily Ford
Coverage Type: reporting
NC, United States

Gov. Bev Perdue (D-NC) will neither sign nor veto a controversial broadband bill, meaning it will become law without her signature.

Gov Perdue on May 20 issued a statement critical of House Bill 129 but said the state needs “rules to prevent cities and towns from having an unfair advantage over providers in the private sector.” A veto would have been difficult to sustain in the Republican-controlled General Assembly. Salisbury won exemption for Fibrant from the legislation, which will limit how cities can operate and fund broadband systems in competition with private companies. Cable and phone companies worked for four years to pass the legislation. Gov Perdue issued her statement on the final day of her deliberation, after fielding thousands of pleas to veto or sign House Bill 129. The veto effort was largely a fight for towns like Chapel Hill and Fayetteville, which have spent money putting fiber in the ground but are not operational yet. In her statement, Gov Perdue said every school, household and business in North Carolina — no matter where they are — should have access to efficient and affordable broadband services.

“My concern with House Bill 129 is that the restrictions the General Assembly has imposed on cities and towns who want to offer broadband services may have the effect of decreasing the number of choices available to their citizens,” Gov Perdue said. “For these reasons, I will neither sign nor veto this bill. “Instead, I call on the General Assembly to revisit this issue and adopt rules that not only promote fairness but also allow for the greatest number of high quality and affordable broadband options for consumers.”


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