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Politics

Tennessee House pulls plug on municipal broadband expansion

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Tennessee General Assembly
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A bill to allow municipal utilities that offer broadband to also provide ultra-fast Internet outside of their service areas has failed for the year.

Republican Rep. Kevin Brooks of Cleveland withdrew his bill from consideration on Tuesday after the House Business and Utilities Subcommittee voted 5-3 against an amendment seeking to create a limited pilot program.

The proposal has bogged down in recent years amid opposition from private Internet providers such as AT&T and Comcast, who argue that it's unfair for them to have to compete for customers against government-backed utilities.

But supporters of changing the law note that Chattanooga's EPB utility brought its gigabit-speed service to Hamilton County long before commercial providers were willing to make their service widely available there or in other Tennessee cities.