Rural Tennesseans could have gotten free internet but their legislators shut it down

Date: 17 Apr 2017 | posted in: Media Coverage, MuniNetworks | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

ThinkProgress – April 17, 2017

By Lauren C. Williams

Given the choice between giving rural Tennessee residents free faster broadband internet from a government-run program and giving private telecom companies $45 million to build infrastructure for snail-speed access, state legislators chose the latter. …

The Broadband Accessibility Act also excludes government-run internet providers, such as Chattanooga-based electricity company EPB, which has been fighting for years to expand its services to rural Tennesseans. Last year, a federal court upheld the law restricting municipal broadband expansion, invalidating a 2015 FCC vote in EPB’s favor.

“Tennessee will literally be paying AT&T to provide a service 1000 times slower than what Chattanooga could provide without subsidies,” the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s director for community broadband initiatives, Christopher Mitchell, told Motherboard.

Read the full story here.

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Nick Stumo-Langer was Communications Manager at ILSR working for all five initiatives. He ran ILSR's Facebook and Twitter profiles and builds relationships with reporters. He is an alumnus of St. Olaf College and animated by the concerns of monopoly power across our economy.