It seems Time Warner Cable and Embarq are hell bent on taking down a small, local ISP that’s offering one community faster and cheaper internet access.
Greenlight is North Carolina’s only all fiber optic network. Aside from providing faster internet access to the city of Wilson, N.C. the company offers cable and phone packages at competitive pricing. Ranging from a hundred bucks per month for 80 TV channels, unlimited phone service and 10 Mbps (down/up) to $170 for all channels, unlimited calls and 20 Mbps up and down, Greenlight’s plans are much better than what Wilson residents were getting from either Embarq or Time Warner Cable. Greenlight's highest tier offers 100 Mbps for $300, TWC's Turbo plan offers 10 Mbps for $57.
Today reports from around the web say the two bigger ISPs are trying to persuade the state of North Carolina to put forward bills that would outlaw community services such as the one offered by Greenlight. TWC and Embarq’s argument is that it’s impossible for big companies to turn a profit and compete against a community-owned company that offers customers the service at a price that's much closer to the cost. Brian Bowman, the city's public affairs manager wrote in a blog post that the companies weren’t trying to level the playing field, so much as make sure they were the only team on the field.
"Bottom line, these companies are using your state lawmakers to protect monopolies. It was wrong in 2007 when a similar bill died in the house and it’s wrong today."
Over the last few weeks the media has been filled with debates and complaints about TWC’s decision to introduce tiered pricing on its broadband packages. The company shelved the plan following public outcry. TWC struck out again when word began to get around that the company could also be shelving plans for new system that would improve broadband speeds. Time Warner Cable's consumption-based billing trials brought along with it testing of the new DOCSIS 3.0 system. Alex Dudly, VP of PR at TWC, posted a response on his Twitter to a question from GigaOM’s Stacey Higginbotham saying that the DOCSIS 3.0 was scheduled as part of consumption-based billing trial, but that the consumer backlash has changed the company’s plans. GigaOM got clarification from TWC, who said it is now “reevaluating whether or not the trial cities are among those places” scheduled for DOCSIS 3.0 rollouts.
Now that TWC and Embarq are determined to take down a project that cost the City of Wilson $28 million to set up, people are going to come down even harder on them. Way to go guys.
Check out Brian Bowman's blog dedicated to saving Wilson's broadband here.