By ROBERT MAIER
A recent article in the New York Times (Dec. 4, 2011, “The New Digital Divide”) about why the US is ranked 12th among developed nations in Internet connectivity underscores the excellent reasons why Davidson’s mayor and town board (along with Mooresville) decided to purchase scandal-ridden Adelphia’s decrepit local communications network several years ago. The U.S. is dominated by just six Internet cable providers— like Time Warner, Comcast, AT&T. These providers are acquiring most remaining smaller systems without any federal oversight. We know what this means—prices will go up and quality of service will go down for those subscribers.
State legislators, including North Carolina’s, influenced by well-funded cable industry lobbyists, have made it easier to do this by outlawing local competition like MI Connection. In North Carolina, it is now illegal for a government entity to own a communications system. That’s like requiring the water system to be owned by a private company beholden only to its stockholders for whom profit is the only motive, and not providing water to homes that aren’t profitable enough. Read the full story