Come out, come out, conservatives and regale us with tales of the evils of socialism…Thanks Grootch

Time Warner, Embarq Fight to Outlaw 100 Mbps Community Broadband in Wilson, NC


Time Warner Inc., after finally dropping its plans for metered internet services for the time being, appears to be back to its old ways. This story begins in Wilson, North Carolina. Wilson is a small city of about 47,000 residents located in the middle of North Carolina, roughly 45 minutes east of Raleigh, the state’s capital.

The city’s residents, like many, long complained over high internet, cable, and telephone prices. So the city launched an ambitious $28M USD program to deliver these services basically at cost, at much lower rates than local service providers Time Warner Inc. and Embarq.

For example, the city offers an expanded basic cable (81 channels), 10 Mbps (download and upload), and a digital phone plan with unlimited long distance to the U.S. and Canada, all for $99.95. A comparable plan from Time Warner Inc., with six fewer channels (no Cartoon Network, Disney, The Science Channel, ESPNU, ESPN News, or ESPN Classic) and lower upload speeds costs $137.95, for an introductory rate, which lasts a few months and then will likely be ratcheted up.

The city service, named Greenlight Inc., also offers a premium package with 20 Mbps (download and upload), faster than any service provider in the area (Time Warner Inc. and Embarq’s "Turbo" plans top out at 15 Mbps download). And Greenlight also offers a stunning 100 Mbps (download and upload) local service as well, though it is not listed on their website in the basic packages.

Rather than admit defeat to the pesky local service and go quietly, Time Warner Inc. and Embarq decided to take the fight to the state government, lobbying for several years to get the state government to pass laws to try to destroy the local effort. And sure enough, thanks to a lot of hard work (and money), the cable companies are close to getting their wish — North Carolina’s State Senate have proposed bills to not only effectively crippling or banning the local service, but also to prevent such services from getting funds under the broadband portion of the national Stimulus law.

One of the biggest reasons I am not a "conservative" or a "neo-con" is a fundamental underlying notion that the big corporations almost always are willing to use their clout to crush competition and screw the little guy.  Not regulating their behavior leads to huge amounts of wealth in the hands of the fat pigs running the companies, and the workers get walked on, as do the consumers.  It doesn’t take a genius to read history. 


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12 Responses to Come out, come out, conservatives and regale us with tales of the evils of socialism…Thanks Grootch

  1. Bryan K says:

    A little bit of sensationalist journalism here.

    Here is the North Carolina Senate Bill 1004 that is up for question:

    Here is an outline of what the bill is trying to do:

    -It would require Greenlight to comply with all local, state, and federal laws that privately or publicly owned companies are subject to

    -It would require Greenlight to keep its books separate from all other government coffers and services

    -It would ban the use of tax dollars to fund Greenlight

    -It would ban Greenlight from providing the services below cost or from running with a budget deficit

    -It would require Greenlight to pay local taxes and fees that is equal to the amount that other communications companies are required to pay into the local coffers. This includes franchise fees, pole fees, right-of-way fees, property taxes, etc.

    -It would require Greenlight to subject its books to an independent audit that all publicly held companies are subject to

    I’m no fan of TWC, but at the same time, Greenlight has a tremendous competitive advantage. The other thing that seems to be lost in all of this is that TWC recorded a net loss in 2008. Something tells me that if they were allowed to operate under the same conditions as Greenlight, they would have been able to record a net profit AND lower their rates. Of course, we don’t know whether or not Greenlight is running at a profit or an unsustainable loss because they refuse to open their books to public scrutiny.

    What TWC and Embarq are asking sounds pretty fair to me.

  2. Grootch says:

    Ok, I’ll concur partially with Bryan here. My opinion is that an entity that is organized in a socialist structure should always be able to compete on the same field as private entities. This isn’t “socialism.” It’s capitalism, and the competition has the right to organize itself any way they damn well please.

    Now I can see them being forced to comply with local and states laws, keeping the books seperate, not using tax dollars to fund it, etc… but, requiring them to pay local taxes and fees that is equal to the amount that other communications companies are required to pay I take issue with. They aren’t for-profit.

  3. Bryan K says:

    They might not be for-profit, but there are several reasons why it is a good idea to make them subject to the same taxation laws that the privately owned companies are.

    First and foremost, the biggest competitive advantage that Greenlight has is their exemption from tax laws. I spent some time looking at TWC’s financial statements last night, and local taxes ate up a huge portion of their gross revenue. Right-of-way taxes and property taxes alone comprised about 10% of their incoming revenue. That’s about $13.50 on a typical $135 bill, and these are only local taxes. However, more importantly, it was the difference between TWC making a net profit and recording a net loss last year.

    Moreover, the fact that Greenlight doesn’t have to pay these taxes is, in effect, ripping off the tax payers. If 5,000 subscribers at TWC’s $135 per month rate leave TWC to subsribe to Greenlight, the city of Wilson will be losing $67,500 per month, or $810,000 million per year, in their tax coffers. Again, this is only including the local taxes. That’s a big chunk of change for a city of only 41,000 people.

    Now, of course, the biggest issue is the conflict of interest that develops because of these tax shortcomings. The city has the power to increase the taxation imposed on TWC in order to make up the shortcomings that will end up as a result of Greenlight’s existence. That would, of course, further drive up the rates that TWC customers have to pay which would, in turn, drive more TWC customers to Greenlight which would, in turn, lose more tax revenue which would, in turn, force Wilson to further raise TWC’s taxes, etc.

    And, of course, it must be duly noted that there were two cable providers in Wilson, meaning that there was no exclusive franchise rights granted to TWC. Cries of “monopoly” were unfounded.

  4. Charlie B says:

    They would lose $81,000,000,000 in tax revenue? I’m guessing that’s a typo and that “million” wasn’t meant to be there.

  5. Bryan K says:

    lol….you are correct. I used different calculations to start out with, then decided to make them more realistic. My initial calculation has over $1 million in lost tax revenue. I replaced the numeral, and then forgot to remove the word “million”.

  6. existentialist says:

    What’s this newfangled internet doohickey I keep hearing about?

  7. Carl Marks says:

    and if anyone protests, you brand them as a reactionary and an enemy of the people and ship them to a gulag for a little re-education and some good hard work for the good of the state!
    Remember, just us few really have what it takes to lead these schmucktoids, so we need a line of BS that they will buy into and a common enemy. Simple is as simple does, of course it is always easier when dealing with simple minds. It is good business..for the state!

  8. Glenn Beck says:

    No, no your wrong Carl. My brother, Tony, he drives a Pepsi truck, and let me tell you; he knows a lot about climate change. He passed 9th grade, Carl. I told him he should run for mayor of Little Rock, but he said that it’s a satanic, liberal city. I believe him. Those stupid scientists and idiot intellectuals and their fancy “dictionaries” and “thesaurus’s” and what the fuck not else; they don’t know nothin. I believe that, so it’s true. Just like I believe Jesus is God’s son, therefore it’s true, and I’ll kill you if you don’t believe it with me. I’m a recovering alcoholic. I’ve got it all figured out. You know why?

    Because I let my gut do the thinking.

  9. Alex Jones says:

    No you are all wrong, it’s the NWO, Illuminati in cohorts with Greys and Reptilians who are working to enslave us and use us as food. The FEMA camps are real and we’re gonna fight to the death.

  10. Jim Adkisson says:

    Liberals are a pest like termites. Millions of them Each little bite contributes to the downfall of this great nation. The only way we can rid ourselves of this evil is to kill them in the streets. Kill them where they gather. I’d like to encourage other like minded people to do what I’ve done. If life aint worth living anymore don’t just kill yourself. do something for your Country before you go. Go Kill Liberals.

  11. Bryan K says:

    You know your blog has “made it” when you get someone having a conversation with himself about nothing.

  12. andy g says:

    I believe that there are some alter egos at play here….I just can’t figure out who is who just yet, though I did like the the pepsi driver schtick. I do agree with the assessment of glenn beck, he and his hysterical sister on the convict caylees mom show are a trip and a half.
    Andy coker….WTF???!!!

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