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NC muni broadband restrictions gets final House OK

March 28, 2011

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RALEIGH, N.C.—Restrictions on North Carolina's towns and cities to provide high-speed Internet to residents like a telecommunications company have been approved by the state House.

The House gave its final approval Monday night to changes supporters argue would eliminate financial advantages municipalities may have in setting up broadband service. At least five communities already have offered the service, including Wilson and Salisbury. They would be exempt from new requirements.

Future municipal enterprises couldn't borrow money for capital costs without voter approval. They also would be barred from offering Internet services at below cost or use funds from other city-sponsored utilities.

Opponents argue cities shouldn't be hamstrung in areas where big telecom firms decided it was unprofitable to offer faster services.

The bill was approved 81-37 and now heads to the Senate.