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Municipal Net Bans Won't Be Grandfathered

The House Commerce Committee has defeated an amendment that would have grandfathered 14 states that have bans on municipal broadband networks.

The new national video franchising bill the committee is marking up allows municipalities to offer broadband in competition to commercial interests.

Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) proposed exempting that list of 14, which includes Nebraska, but he appeared to be a lone voice.

Allowing cities to start their own nets would be one way of encouraging competition, or at least making it possible, in areas not attractive to new entrants. The bill does not require companies to launch service in any community, though if they do they must eventually serve all of a franchise or designated geographic area.

Barton pointed out that his own state has a ban on municipal phone nets that this bill would preempt.