As the FCC contemplates the fate of the Chattanooga EPB's ability to expand to surrounding communities, some of those Tennessee communities are publicly announcing their support. The Town of Kimball and Marion County, both part of the Chattanooga metro area, have passed resolutions asking state legislators to reconsider Tennessee's anti-muni law.
The Times Free Press reports that Kimball's Board of Mayor and Alderman unanimously and officially asked their state officials to introduce legislation enabling local authority. They requested action as early as the next legisaltive session.
Marion County passed a similar resolution in August - also unanimously. According to Kimball's City Attorney Bill Gouger:
"It is a situation where there are providers out there who would like to extend fiber-optic cable and high-speed Internet-type systems throughout our county," Gouger said. "The simple fact is, right now, our state laws make that really difficult to do, if not impossible."
County Mayor David Jackson is reaching out to the other municipalities in Marion County to increase support. From the article:
High-speed Internet access is "very important" for the entire county, said Jackson.
"It would, hopefully, give us another edge in getting new industry and other businesses to our county," he said. "It [quality Internet access] is very vital. We've got some industries now that are really struggling because they have limited Internet access."
Gouger said commercial and industrial developments are making high-speed Internet access a "requirement" for setting up shop in rural areas like Marion now.
"If we can't get those types of things throughout our county, it's going to disqualify us from some future growth," he said. "That's the whole purpose of this resolution."