Time Warner, Embarq Hopes to Kill Little ISP

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.

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  • Anonymous
    Something is terribly wrong when the government (terrible economic efficiency) can compete with you.
    23
  • hotroderx
    Wow ummm ok..... I am lost isn't that just competitive business? Greenlight offers cheaper service to its customers then TWC. So there for in TWC eyes they should be shut down. Will hell with that way of thinking we need to shut down McDonolds cause they offer cheaper prices then the competition and we need to shut down Walmart cause will there cheaper then Target hmmm who else should we shut down o I know Linux even thought there not a company we should make it so they cant continue to develop there OS cause its cheaper then windows and will Microsoft should also be shut down cause will there cheaper then Mac and will thats just not fair. Seriously thought someone needs to do something about TWC this is getting crazy I am being to think there executive are short bus candidates.
    21
  • magnus962
    vaguedreamsFirst let me preface that I am in complete support for the city of wilson and hope that these bills are not rattified. Just to play devils advocate though...I think the big issue is that the community service is running at near cost. Once the city completes it's overhaul then all they are going to do is work to a break even point and not for profit.No cable company can compete with that, and it is a dangerous precident because should this be extremely successful other cities will mimic it. This has the potential to shutdown ISP's nation wide.Wilson has had a lot of difficulty rolling out their plains and the service has not been as spectacular as the numbers indicate. Once they get things working though, it would be a no brainer to take their service.Cable companies would have to work at cost in order to compete and would be unable to grow or expand. While it's all greed, that greed brings services like dvr, ppv, extra premium channels, broad band, home networking, voip telephony, etc...I think it's hosed, but you need to take a step back and look at the whole situation. Don't just shoot from the hip and scream how evil these corporations are. Just think if a company only worked for it's break even point. It would never grow, or expand. With these community services once roll out they are done, they are then working just to maintain. They are not going to try and expand beyond their cities.



    The cable companies failed to set up a connection that was satisfactory (or even existed?) for the community of Wilson. In response they got together and built this system and program by pulling together the funds, systems, and time needed to make it work. As it was pointed out, the system isnt perfect yet, but when it gets there then it will obviously be a no brainer. This means that the community built something to compete against a service that was unable to meet their needs. This is the benefit of a free market. The government didnt magically decide these people needed a super ISP, it was bought and paid for as a whole and I dont pretend to know how.

    What I do know is that if TWC and Embarq dont like the fact that they cannot compete with the prices in the area, then they dont have to. If the entire country were to support this same system tomorrow, and have it installed and implemented next week, then those companies either have to evolve and reevaluate how they exist, or compete. You can compete with zero profit by offering a better service with low profit. If you cannot possibly offer better service, then you are outdated.

    The entire world is starting to revolve around internet usage. Just because these companies have built massive networks that they tap into using their services does not mean they have inherent right to make money, especially not in this country. If citizens can use Government ability to build a no profit ISP in their are with superhigh speeds then either the ISP needs to build something similar or they need to get over themselves. They aren't entitled to money, they are entitled to the ability to compete, and that has not been taken away from them. They are outclassed by their own doing in this case, not because they didnt have a shot.
    17
  • Other Comments
  • salsoolo
    f** monopoly... every city should do what those ppl did.
    and the entire country will have ftth. actually thats the best idea.
    13
  • hotroderx
    Wow ummm ok..... I am lost isn't that just competitive business? Greenlight offers cheaper service to its customers then TWC. So there for in TWC eyes they should be shut down. Will hell with that way of thinking we need to shut down McDonolds cause they offer cheaper prices then the competition and we need to shut down Walmart cause will there cheaper then Target hmmm who else should we shut down o I know Linux even thought there not a company we should make it so they cant continue to develop there OS cause its cheaper then windows and will Microsoft should also be shut down cause will there cheaper then Mac and will thats just not fair. Seriously thought someone needs to do something about TWC this is getting crazy I am being to think there executive are short bus candidates.
    21
  • kingnoobe
    I'm pretty surprised at Embarq on this one. I have used their services and found them quite exceptional specially since they never capped me, and i got what I paid for all the way around, but after hearing this... There goes their good rep at least in my eyes. Of course TW doing this is no surprise specially after the crap they tried to pull. Maybe this is just a new marketing tool, everybody loves a good comeback story, and TW is about to need one hell of a comeback to recover from all the crap their trying to pull.
    4