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AT&T, Comcast Kill Local Gigabit Expansion Plans In Tennessee

An anonymous reader writes from an article on DSLRReports: For some time now municipal broadband operator EPB Broadband has been saying that a state law written by ATT and Comcast lobbyists have prevented the organization from expanding its gigabit broadband offerings (and ten gigabit broadband offerings) throughout Tennessee. Three state laws currently exist in more than twenty states, and prohibit towns from deploying their own broadband — or often even striking public/private partnerships — even in cases of obvious market failure. A proposal that would have recently lifted this statewide restriction in Tennessee was recently shot down thanks to ATT and Comcast lobbying. The proposal was shot down by a 5-3 vote, with Rep. Patsy Hazlewood, a former ATT executive, being one of the votes against. Even a new compromise proposal (which would have simply let EPB expand slightly in the same county where it is headquartered as well as one adjoining country) was shot down, after 27 broadband industry lobbyists — most of whom belonging to ATT and Comcast — fought in unison to kill the proposal. Last year the FCC voted to dismantle broadband protectionist bills in both Tennessee and North Carolina, though these efforts remain bogged down in court. ISP-loyal lawmakers in the states have argued that the FCC’s attempt to shoot down these laws violates their states’ rights, though letting Comcast and ATT write awful state telecom law doesn’t appear to generate the same disdain.

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