In North Carolina, following on the heels of legislation passed in Mississippi earlier this year, 34 state legislators have cosponsored a bill that would enable the state’s 26 electric co-ops to use existing fiber optic cables to deliver high-speed internet to rural residents.
Mississippi ranks 49th in broadband coverage and has launched a bond-backed effort with rural electric co-ops to improve its standing. A nonprofit funded by several Koch-supported organizations and the telecom industry raises the specter of cost overruns. But how does that change the need for broadband?
In Mississippi, a bill to empower the state’s rural electric co-ops to offer broadband service to underserved rural counties passes the state House of Representatives on a 115–3 vote. The bill now proceeds to the state senate.
In Fort Collins, the City Council voted 7-0 to give city-owned broadband the green light. Other Colorado cities seem likely to follow. One benefit beyond the high speeds is that public ownership allows cities to maintain net neutrality regardless of the actions of federal regulators.