Bill to allow expansion of rural broadband called overdue - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Bill to allow expansion of rural broadband called overdue

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Supporters of a bill seeking to allow municipal broadband providers to expand high-speed Internet service to rural areas are calling the measure long overdue.

Republican Rep. Dan Howell of Bradley County said at a press conference at the state Capitol on Wednesday that his area has waited in vain for more than two decades for private cable companies to offer high-speed Internet service.

Howell said that if it weren't for a state law that bans municipal utilities from offering connections outside their service areas, neighboring Chattanooga's electric utility could bring it broadband to residents and businesses within 120 days.

But Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell said earlier this week that she doesn't want to consider the bill until Gov. Bill Haslam's office completes a statewide survey of broadband access.

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