Minnesota legislators serve up bill to ban community broadband

Minnesota has become the latest state to put forth legislation to stop communities from building their own broadband networks.

Following similar efforts in Georgia and North Carolina, Minnesota's HF 2695 explicitly bars any community from building a broadband network to serve their needs.

What's ironic about this bill, as reported in Community Broadband Networks, is that the state's incumbent telcos and cable operators like CenturyLink  (NYSE: CTL) and Mediacom refuse to make the effort to deliver the services to unserved or underserved communities themselves.

Not surprisingly, the Minnesota Cable Communications Association (MCCA) said they are not behind the bill.

Christopher Mitchell, Telecom Researcher at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, wrote in a post on their Community Broadband Networks site that while he believes they may not be behind it, but is quick to point out if passed it would be a gift to cable operators and telcos that face little competition and incentive to upgrade their networks to deliver higher speed broadband services.

"I would expect a bill by MCCA to be more strategic, refusing to admit they wanted to revoke all authority outright," he wrote. "Nonetheless, this bill is still a giant gift to the incumbent cable operators in the state."

A recent post on community action group Stop the Cap! revealed that Georgia's bill has been effectively shelved by being turned into what is called a "study bill."

For more:
- Community Broadband Networks has this post
- Broadband DSL Reports has this article
- see the link to the bill

Related articles:
Chattanooga's EPB Fiber defies tough telecom odds
Georgia legislators propose bill to curtail community broadband
North Carolina lawmakers finalize anti-municipal broadband bill
Salisbury, NC to launch municipal FTTH service next month

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