NASHVILLE (AP) - The Tennessee legislature has passed a bill that could make it easier for rural areas to get access to the internet amid concerns that it doesn't do enough to get high-speed access across the state.

During debate in the House Monday evening, lawmakers said they hoped the bill would be a start to getting everyone across the state connected.

The bill, named the Broadband Accessibility Act of 2017, was pushed by Gov. Bill Haslam as a way to help the economy in rural Tennessee.

The measure clears the way for nonprofit electric co-ops to provide both internet and video service. It also gives $45 million in grants and tax credits to co-ops and internet service providers to encourage the development of internet in areas that don't have it.

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