Thursday, August 21, 2014

Bogart/Oconee Co. internet service conversation




Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Note® II


-------- Original message --------
From: Jim Luke
Date:08/20/2014 11:29 AM (GMT-05:00)
To: danjmatt@bellsouth.net
Subject: Fwd: Bogart/Oconee Co. internet service



Sent from my iPad

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Josh B. Wages" <jbw@bbgbalaw.com<mailto:jbw@bbgbalaw.com>>
Date: August 19, 2014 at 11:38:42 PM EDT
To: Jim Luke <jluke@oconee.ga.us<mailto:jluke@oconee.ga.us>>
Subject: RE: Bogart/Oconee Co. internet service

Dear Mr. Luke - I've been overwhelmed with information from various sources on this subject since I initially sent this e-mail, and I am hearing that this is an issue all over the county (I've also read the recent Oconee Enterprise article discussing where this was raised at a Commission meeting).  However, I cannot find any statute or regulation like the one you mentioned that took away any of the Oconee County government's authority to address the situation.  Someone brought to my attention the "Competitive Emerging Communications Technologies Act of 2006," which is recited below.  I read that statute to only address the limitations of jurisdiction/authority of the State Public Service Commission.  Is there another law that I'm overlooking?

Thanks again so much for your help and your feedback.  I'm going to keep pressing until I can't press any more.  This is really absurd that these utility companies seem to believe they operative "above the law".  Any additional information or feedback you can provide is much appreciated.


§ 46-5-222. Limitation of the Public Service Commission's regulatory authority


(a) The Public Service Commission shall not have any jurisdiction, right, power, authority, or duty to impose any requirement or regulation relating to the setting of rates or terms and conditions for the offering of broadband service, VoIP, or wireless services.

(b) This Code section shall not be construed to affect:

(1) State laws of general applicability to all businesses, including, without limitation, consumer protection laws and laws relating to restraint of trade;

(2) Any authority of the Public Service Commission with regard to consumer complaints; or

(3) Any authority of the Public Service Commission to act in accordance with federal laws or regulations of the Federal Communications Commission, including, without limitation, jurisdiction granted to set rates, terms, and conditions for access to unbundled network elements and to arbitrate and enforce interconnection agreements.

(c) Except as otherwise expressly provided in this Code section, nothing in this Code section shall be construed to restrict or expand any other authority or jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission.

Josh B. Wages
Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C.
P.O. Box 832
Athens, Georgia 30603
Direct Dial: (706) 354-5119
Fax: (706) 549-3545
jbw@bbgbalaw.com<mailto:jbw@bbgbalaw.com>

-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Luke [mailto:jluke@oconee.ga.us]
Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2014 5:17 PM
To: Josh B. Wages
Subject: Re: Bogart/Oconee Co. internet service

Josh

On personal issues, and hearing from many Oconee Citizens I have moved AT&T to the very top of my list of company's I least enjoy doing business with. I have stronger words I could use. It is a long story why, but it boils down to local government no longer has any control over franchise utilities. A few years ago the folks under the gold dome, under pressure from utility company lobbyists, took control from local government and gave to themselves. I would suggest you call a senator, or house representative but I already have with no results.  I can't help, but if you want any information or to just talk about the issues give me a call anytime. (706 255 5031).

I am sure glad you chose Oconee to live, I think you will find it a good choice, despite the shortcoming of our communications providers.

Jim




Sent from my iPad

On Aug 16, 2014, at 2:13 PM, "Josh B. Wages" <jbw@bbgbalaw.com<mailto:jbw@bbgbalaw.com><mailto:jbw@bbgbalaw.com>> wrote:

I am a native of Athens, and I have lived and worked in this area all my life – I have lived in Watkinsville for the past several years, and my kids attend the wonderful Oconee County Schools (I recently sold my house, and I'm moving into a new home in Bogart next week).  I need some guidance and possibly some assistance, and frankly don't know where else to turn.

I am under contract to buy a home in the Somerset subdivision off of Clotfelter Road in Bogart (supposed to close next week), and I just found out that there is no longer internet service available in the neighborhood.  The neighborhood had been serviced by AT&T DSL, but I and several other folks who recently purchased homes here have just been informed that the service has been "capped" by AT&T due to capacity issues.

I need – and this area of our county needs – internet service.  I can assure you that I would not invest in a home without internet, and I doubt that anyone would in this day and age.  Without internet service, it will prove difficult if not impossible to convince new residents to continue purchasing homes, particularly in this price range – which is absolutely vital to the continued viability of the property tax structure.  The developers/builders (Chris Higginbotham; Daniel Clark of D&B Custom Builders) were unaware that AT&T had "capped" service.

In any event, is this just a personal/resident issue that I need to address, or is there anything that can be done from the county's perspective?  I have reached out to AT&T locally, as have some of my neighbors.  We are generally being told that they are "looking into it," but that the decision is not in their hands.  Thus far, to no avail.  I have reached out to cable providers who service the area, but I absolutely cannot get anyone on the phone who can address the issue.  If there is anything that can be done, I will do it – I just need to know what can be done.

I know that all of you are extremely busy and have very important business to tend to more pressing than my internet, but I believe that if this problem is not addressed, it will affect the viability of this neighborhood and this area generally.  If there is anything that you can do, or anything that you could suggest that I can do, I would very much appreciate it.

Thank you all very much for your time and for your assistance in this regard.

If you should have any questions, please do not hesitate to call or e-mail me.  Thank you again.

Josh B. Wages
Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C.
P.O. Box 832
Athens, Georgia 30603
Direct Dial: (706) 354-5119
Fax: (706) 549-3545
jbw@bbgbalaw.com<mailto:jbw@bbgbalaw.com><mailto:jbw@bbgbalaw.com>

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