Haslam unveils bid to expand access to rural broadband - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Haslam unveils bid to expand access to rural broadband

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam answers questions during an interview in Nashville. AP photo Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam answers questions during an interview in Nashville. AP photo

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam is proposing legislation to expand access to broadband in rural Tennessee.

The governor's plan would allow nonprofit electric cooperatives offer broadband to their customers. The state's electric co-ops serve about 2.5 million Tennesseans.

The proposal would not include allowing government-owned utilities to expand internet access outside their service areas.

Haslam also wants to offer $45 million in tax credits and grants over the next three years to encourage commercial providers to expand their broadband offerings to areas where they are not yet available.

The broadband proposal is Haslam's second major agenda item for the 2017 legislative session. Haslam last week unveiled his proposal to boost transportation funding in the state, largely through a hike in the state's gasoline and diesel taxes.

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