Internet service providers fight public access plans

The internet has grown like kudzu, and now its vines are deeply entangled in the day-to-day life of most Americans. Now, in the midst of a severe recession, some cities have decided to build out their own free broadband systems to better serve their citizens and drive innovation. As you might expect, internet service providers such as Time Warner Cable (TWC), feeling the squeeze on their pocketbooks, are fighting this move. And they are fighting in the traditional American way: they're taking the cities to court.

The battle is raging at the moment in North Carolina, where several towns have created public high-speed broadband networks. According to industry expert Craig Settles, as quoted by Online Media Daily, towns such as Wilson, N.C., have seen a surge in home-based businesses due in part to the internet access, and a Louisiana town was able to draw 600 new jobs thanks to its public fiber-optic network.