Enlarge (credit: Greenlight Community Broadband)
Last year, the state of North Carolina won a court case against the Federal Communications Commission, a victory that allowed it to restore a state law that restricts the growth of municipal broadband networks.
This created an immediate problem for new customers of one government-run ISP.

After the FCC’s 2015 vote to preempt the state law, Greenlight Community Broadband in Wilson, North Carolina, began offering service outside the Wilson County boundaries, something it previously wasn’t allowed to do.

Greenlight now serves about 200 customers in the nearby town of Pinetops, as well as Vick Family Farms in rural Nash County.
Greenlight came close to shutting off Internet service to those new customers after the state ban on municipal broadband expansion was upheld by a federal appeals court.

But in October 2016, the Wilson City Council voted to provide free Internet service to Pinetops and Vick Family Farms for six months. Wilson’s wholesale providers agreed to waive their fees for six months, making this decision possible. Wilson’s Greenlight ISP was technically in compliance with the state law as long as it didn’t charge its new customers for service, but Wilson community leaders hoped the state legislature would eliminate or change the state law before the six months were up.
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