In surprise vote, Montana House Republicans (and incumbent companies) kill Democratic municipal broadband proposal. “(Providers) just do not show up in those small towns”
On Monday, lawmakers received a series of talking points on the bill from the Montana Telecommunications Association urging a no vote on HB422, warning that municipal broadband was too expensive, too risky and lacked successful test-cases.
He attributes its failure, at least in part, to last-minute lobbying efforts by established telecommunications companies in Montana that were caught off guard by the bill’s passage through the process.
“I expected it to fail on the House floor. It didn’t, and then the lobbying really began,” Kortum said.
HB422 would have repealed existing law banning cities and towns from operating an ISP. Kortum and other Democrats presented the bill as one that would help bring connectivity to so-called “donut holes” of limited service in rural and even some urban areas in the state.
“(Providers) just do not show up in those small towns,” he said.
Municipal Broadband Is Roadblocked Or Outlawed In 22 States States without municipal broadband restrictions have lower internet prices on average.
States without restrictions enjoyed higher access to low-priced broadband plans. Low-priced access data was taken from active internet plans in our database as of Q2 2020.
Montana’s Regulations Rated Worst in the U.S. for Internet Infrastructure Deployment Process – 50th in the nation — for broadband internet access – Federal Permitting Process Slows Rural Broadband Expansion
As state lawmakers begin to consider changes, R Street’s annual broadband scorecard offers a comparative look at every state’s existing laws and highlights areas for improvement.
“This law opens it up where we can get some new competitors into this field,” said Republican Sen. Ricky Hill, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
According to a 10-year study, the municipally owned broadband utility of Chattanooga, Tenn., has brought about economic benefits in the billions. The research could play an important role in future political debates.
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