Minnesota Lawmakers Seek to Ban Community Broadband

It seems like state legislators are lining up to pass legislation designed to protect the interests of corporations in the business of providing broadband services. Minnesota is the latest state to offer legislation meant to forbid community broadband projects, joining states like Georgia and North Carolina. The bill before lawmakers in Minnesota, "HF 2695," specifically bars any community from building a broadband network within the state. Meanwhile the companies that provide broadband in the state – CenturyLink and Mediacom – are refusing to expand their networks to underserved and unserved areas within the state.

While the Minnesota Cable Communications Association (MCCA), a trade group representing the industry in the state claims that they are not behind the bill before lawmakers, activists have their doubts. Even if they aren't the passage of such a bill would be a gift the industry who does not want to compete with broadband run by towns and cities because it would most likely be cheaper.

"I would expect a bill by MCCA to be more strategic, refusing to admit they wanted to revoke all authority outright," Christopher Mitchell, Telecom Researcher at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance wrote on the Community Broadband Networks site. "Nonetheless, this bill is still a giant gift to the incumbent cable operators in the state."

A recent post on community action group Stop the Cap! revealed that Georgia's bill has been effectively shelved by being turned into what is called a "study bill." If you are a citizen of one of the many towns not served by a broadband service provider, it would probably be in your best interest to ask your state representative not to vote for this bill.

Source: Fierce Telecom

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