“Proponents of rural broadband services on Wednesday demanded Tennessee lawmakers quit listening to for-profit telephone and cable giants and allow Chattanooga’s EPB [Electric Power Board of Chattanooga]and other municipal electric power services to expand their lightning-fast Internet offerings to underserved areas,” Andy Sher reports for The Times Free Press. “‘We’re talking about AT&T,’ Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, bluntly told a rally of business owners, families and local officials gathered in the state Capitol. ‘They’re the most powerful lobbying organization in this state by far.'”
“The bill has been opposed for years by AT&T, Comcast and other providers who say it’s unfair for them to have to compete with government entities like EPB. But EPB, as well as some lawmakers like Gardenhire, say if the free market isn’t providing the service, someone else should,” Sher reports. “‘Don’t fall for the argument that this is a free market versus government battle,’ Gardenhire said. ‘It is not. AT&T is the villain here, and so are the other people and cable.'”
“Earlier this week, House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, told National Federation of Independent Business-Tennessee members she doesn’t expect the General Assembly will take up the issue this year after Gov. Bill Haslam’s economic development officials announced they were initiating a study,” Sher reports. “But the bill’s House sponsor, Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland, said he is ‘absolutely’ pressing forward with the bill. It has been put on notice to be heard in March in House subcommittee. ‘There was a misconception that the broadband bill was dead. The bill is not dead,’ Brooks said.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: The state of Internet in some parts of the U.S. is not strong.
[Attribution: Ars Technica. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]