the N&O’s John Murawski covers Wilson’s petition to the FCC to overturnNorth Carolina’s draconian municipal broadband conditions that were bought and paid for by Big Telecom.
Wilson, one of the few towns in the state that offer high-speed Internet service to residents and businesses, has stewed for three years since the North Carolina legislature put restrictions on municipal broadband.
The Eastern North Carolina town’s officials say they can’t expand their data service, called Greenlight, to nearby communities that have requested the high-speed connection. Greenlight offers residential Internet speeds up to 1 gigabit – or 20 times faster than Time Warner Cable’s fastest household Internet speed.
Now the former tobacco center about an hour east of Raleigh is asking the Federal Communications Commission to override North Carolina’s telecommunications law. The city’s unusual legal claim was made possible only in the past few months, after FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced, through a blog and at an industry conference, that the federal agency will consider pre-empting local laws that stifle broadband competition. Wheeler is one of three Democrats on the five-member commission.