In more bad news for North Carolina, the FCC Wireline Competition Bureau issued a report in June that ranked the Tar Heel state dead last in broadband access. According to the Report Summary, only 17% of households in the state have broadband access the FCC "deems necessary for modern life."
While our state's education, telecommunications, and transportation infrastructure crumbles around us, the General Assembly and the Governor's Office have told businesses that the only way we will attract them here is through outright bribery:
- $100 million to MetLife
- $87 million to the Carolina Panthers NFL team
- Forgiveness of sales tax on electrical power to data centers, which on average employ only 20-25 people full time for extremely profitable companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook
For as along as I have lived in North Carolina, and for many decades before, our state was seen as a very business friendly and moderately progressive state, investing prudently in public education, transportation, and communications. We developed a first-rate university system, a model community college system, and respected our teaching profession through better than average pay and working conditions. We established the Research Triangle Park, attracting world class high-tech companies like SAS and IBM and CREE Lighting to locate or stay put in North Carolina. Visionary leaders like Luther Hodges and Bob Scott and Terry Sanford and the "3 Jims" - Holshouser, Martin, and Hunt, all worked hard to put North Carolina on the business map.
Well, we are not going to attract business when there is no internet access. In fact, we are not even going to attract the right-wing's vision of funneling taxpayer dollars to for profit online schools if no one can get online. And we are not going to attract businesses through voter suppression and intolerance. The latest CNBC business climate rankings reflect the impact of those policies - as North Carolina dropped to 12th after a decade of being in the top 5.
Building takes vision, commitment, and resources. Tearing down takes nothing but anger. It is sad to see my adopted state in demolition mode.