Letter: We Deserve Fairness on Broadband Cable Costs

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We all know that rural North Carolina needs better access to broadband internet.

In the General Assembly, large Fortune 500 cable companies are working to make our members pay for expanding broadband. Cable companies have already secured millions of dollars in government grants to extend broadband services to rural North Carolina. Yet they seek to find more revenue sources to increase their shareholder profits and minimize their costs.

A proposal at the North Carolina General Assembly would change current law and require cooperatives and their member-owners to foot the bill for the extension of broadband services. This would ultimately raise electric bills for co-op members across our state’s rural communities. Cooperative businesses are different from for-profit companies whose profit benefits shareholders. Randolph EMC provides electric service at cost, so any additional expense to the co-op is really an additional expense for co-op members.

We appreciate our local legislators who have supported us on this issue. And we appreciate our local partner, Randolph Communications, as they expand their fiber network into underserved areas, even outside their initial footprint. Whenever feasible, we will lay their fiber in our ditches. This excellent partnership with Randolph Communications provides efficiency for our members and theirs.

The large cable companies, however, have ignored rural North Carolina for years. No matter the outcome of this or other legislative issues, we will continue to support the best interests of our members.

Publisher’s Note: This is a letter to the editor, submitted by a reader, and reflects the opinion of the author. The Pilot welcomes letters from readers on its Opinion page, which serves as a public forum. The Pilot is not in the business of suppressing public opinion. We are a forum for community debate, and publish almost every letter we receive. For information on how to make a submission, visit this page: https://www.thepilot.com/site/forms/online_services/letter/

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