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Tennessee Could Give Taxpayers America’s Fastest Internet For Free, But It Will Give Comcast and AT&T $45 Million Instead

| Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Apr 12, 2017 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/tennessee-could-give-taxpayers-americas-fastest-internet-for-free-but-it-will-give-comcast-and-att-45-million-instead/

Motherboard Vice – April 12, 2017

By Jason Koebler

“Tennessee will literally be paying AT&T to provide a service 1000 times slower than what Chattanooga could provide without subsidies.”

Chattanooga, Tennessee has the fastest, most affordable internet in the United States. Many of the rural areas surrounding it have dial up, satellite, or no internet at all. Chattanooga wants to expand its network so these rural areas can have the same Gbps and 10 Gpbs connections the city has. Rather than allow that to happen, Tennessee’s legislature just voted to give Comcast and AT&T a $45 million taxpayer handout. …

To be clear: EPB wanted to build out its gigabit fiber network to many of these same communities using money it has on hand or private loans at no cost to taxpayers. It would then charge individual residents for internet service. Instead, Tennessee taxpayers will give $45 million in tax breaks and grants to giant companies just to get basic infrastructure built. They will then get the opportunity to pay these companies more money for worse internet than they would have gotten under EPB’s proposal.

“Tennessee taxpayers may subsidize AT&T to build DSL service to Chattanooga’s neighbors rather than letting [EPB] expand its fiber to neighbors at no cost to taxpayers,” Christopher Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Networks initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance said. “Tennessee will literally be paying AT&T to provide a service 1000 times slower than what Chattanooga could provide without subsidies.”

Read the full story here.