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Georgia legislature kills bill that would have clamped down on municipal broadband

Published Mar 12th, 2013 10:44PM EDT

The dire threat of public broadband lives on in Georgia. Consumerist reports that Georgia’s state legislature has shot down a bill that would have barred rural municipalities from building their own public broadband networks in areas where at least one residential building had an Internet connection speed of 1.5Mbps or higher. The Macon Telegraph reported last month that legislators from some rural towns in Georgia were “up in arms” over the proposed legislation and claimed that they needed to build their own broadband networks because “companies simply will not bring the highest-speed Internet to their residents because it doesn’t turn a profit.”

The Georgia legislature’s decision to reject the proposal is notable because both North Carolina and South Carolina have passed similar legislation over the past couple of years that make it more difficult for municipalities to build out their own public broadband networks. In the case of South Carolina, one of the big powers behind the bill was the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which argued that “if municipalities are inclined to pursue broadband initiatives then certain safeguards must be put in place in order to ensure that private providers, with whom the municipality will compete with, are not disadvantaged by the municipality in the exercise of its bonding and taxing authority.”

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.