Back to top Jump to featured resources
ILSR Press Room filed under Broadband

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

| Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Apr 17, 2017 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

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.