Larry Lessig begs Democratic North Carolina governor to veto a bill that would ban community broadband networks:
On your desk is a bill passed by the overwhelmingly Republican North Carolina legislature to ban local communities from building or supporting community broadband networks. (H.129). By midnight tonight, you must decide whether to veto that bill, and force the legislature to take a second look.
North Carolina is an overwhelmingly rural state. Relative to the communities it competes with around the globe, it has among the slowest and most expensive Internet service. No economy will thrive in the 21st century without fast, cheap broadband, linking citizens, and enabling businesses to compete. And thus many communities throughout your state have contracted with private businesses to build their own community broadband networks.
This bill is a terrible idea. Banning local communities from providing services that voters are willing to pay for on behalf of corporate political contributors is fundamentally undemocratic.
I’m going to skip the diatribe about what this kind of legislation says about Republican priorities. I will add that Governor Perdue is almost certainly not going to be reelected next year, so she may as well do the right thing.
Update: Governor Perdue will allow the bill to become law without her signature, taking the most gutless possible course.