State BEAD Plans and “Chilling Effect” of Municipal Broadband Restrictions – Montana’s Five Year Action Plan
One major barrier to providing universal access to fast, reliable and affordable Internet service–long recognized by ILSR, telecom experts, and a growing number of ordinary citizens–are the monopoly-friendly preemption laws that either outright ban or erect insurmountable barriers to building publicly-owned, locally-controlled broadband networks, aka municipal broadband.
Currently, 17 states have such preemption laws, most of which have filed their Five Year Action Plans and/or their Initial Proposals. In each of those states, at the behest of Big Cable and Telecom incumbents, state lawmakers have erected legislative barriers to municipal broadband to protect the monopoly players from competition, which is at the very heart of why the digital divide exists in the first place and why tens of millions of Americans suffer from the slower speeds and higher costs that go hand in hand with monopoly service.
A handful of other states with municipal broadband blocking preemption laws have also submitted their Five Year Action Plans or Initial Proposals. They include: Georgia, Montana, Utah, Virginia, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
State of Montana
Montana Broadband Office
Montana Department of Administration