Banning Community Networks Ensures Slower, More Expensive Internet for North Carolinians

Date: 23 Nov 2010 | posted in: information, MuniNetworks, Press Release | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

New Analysis Shows Community Owned Broadband is Cheaper and Faster

North Carolina consumers and businesses would pay more for slower Internet access when communities are preempted from building broadband infrastructure according to a new analysis released today by the Institute for Self-Reliance’s New Rules Project. Recent years have seen attempts in the General Assembly to ban or limit community networks and a new bill in 2011 is inevitable. The bill could derail North Carolina’s goal to be a hotbed for innovation and technology and harm the economy by hurting small businesses. This analysis shows that community fiber networks are faster and cheaper than incumbent cable and telephone networks in North Carolina.

“North Carolina would harm its economic future if it decides to limit broadband competition,” said Christopher Mitchell, Director of ILSR’s Telecommunications as Commons Initiative. “Communities should have the freedom to build their own networks. Time after time they’ve proven better for subscribers.”

The New Rules Project’s latest analysis compared the Internet service options and prices available to residents of both Charlotte and the Raleigh-Durham area to those available to residents of Salisbury and Wilson. Salisbury and Wilson because both built community fiber networks that offer faster connections to residents and businesses at more affordable prices.

New Rules Project analysts are concerned that banning community networks would hit North Carolina small businesses—both in major metro areas and in rural areas—especially hard. Internet speed, cost, and reliability are already drivers of business location—and can only be expected to increase in importance. Upstream and downstream speeds impact the effectiveness of digital age business necessities that increasingly depend on “the cloud.”

“The reliance on big national phone and cable companies isn’t working. They are too reluctant to invest in the broadband infrastructure we need to remain competitive, which is why we have seen communities step up to build their own faster, more reliable, and less expensive broadband networks,” continued Mitchell. 

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Christopher Mitchell

Christopher Mitchell is the Director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. He runs as part of ILSR's effort to ensure broadband networks are directly accountable to the communities that depend upon them.