How Georgia Lawmakers Are Working to Keep its Citizens’ Broadband Connections From Improving

If a town or city wants to have their own broadband infrastructure, they should be able to build it as long as it doesn't cost the state it is in taxpayer dollars. But there's a quiet movement – a greasing of the wheels, if you like – to put a stop to that by telcos and low-end broadband providers that rely on old infrastructure. The latest state to try and legislate limits on what towns and cities can do to improve broadband is in Georgia, where state lawmakers have introduced Georgia House Bill 282, or "the Municipal Broadband Investment Act."

The bill sounds like it would support the building of additional infrastructure, but as Free Press points out, there are a hundred devils hiding in its details.

This bill, which is set for discussion on Wed., Feb 13, at 4 p.m. EST in the Telecom Subcommittee of the House Energy, Utilities & Telecommunications committee, prohibits even modest investments in broadband infrastructure at the municipal level if the community has access to a 1.5 Mbps connection in one direction. The FCC's national minimum basic standard is 5 Mbps for downloads and 1 Mbps for uploads. Ultimately the bill rewards providers that have not made the investment in broadband – so instead of building out infrastructure, service providers spend a little less greasing the palms of the state's lawmakers, apparently.

Free Press points the finger at service provider Windstream, who has found a way to keep its hold in communities where it has not done the heavy lifting of upgrading its services to support high speed Internet access.

If you are a resident of Georgia and would like to know who is on the Telecom Subcommittee of the House Energy, Utilities & Telecommunications committee, you can follow this link. But to save you some time, here are the members' names:

Parsons, Don- Chairman
Geisinger, Harry – Vice Chairman
Carson, John – Secretary
Allison, Stephen- Member
Dempsey, Katie M. – Member
Dickey, III, Robert L. – Member
Drenner, Karla – Member
Dudgeon, Mike – Member
Frazier, Gloria – Member
Fullerton, Carol – Member
Hamilton, Mark – Member
Harbin, Ben – Member
Hatchett, Matt – Member
Holmes, Susan – Member
Holt, Doug – Member
Martin, Chuck – Member
Smith, Earnest – Member
Teasley, Sam – Member
Williams, "Coach" – Member


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