Date: February 13th, 2017
Missouri Bill Seeks to Limit Municipal Authority
Prohibiting "Competitive Service" from Municipalities Harms Missourians, Benefits Incumbent Service Providers
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - Another year in Missouri and another bill from the big telephone companies to limit broadband competition in the state house. The bill introduced by Senator Ed Emery (R-Lamar), SB 186, seeks to limit the power of municipalities to provide competition to entrenched incumbent Internet Service Providers.
SB 186 imposes unworkable restrictions on local governments to prevent "competitive service," which includes both retail and wholesale models - preventing municipalities from working with private sector partners. The bill establishes onerous hurdles for communities attempting to engage in a feasibility study and discourages them from pursuing a chance to serve their residents, businesses, and municipal facilities. Much of this bill's language comes from last year's rejected HB 2078.
"This legislation is trying to cut off communities at every turn by limiting any sort of 'competitive service,' whether it comes from public broadband infrastructure investment or a public-private partnership," says Christopher Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. "Missouri should be encouraging investment and local Internet choice, not working with monopoly lobbyists to prevent it."
Some 20 states have limits on local authority to build networks and Missouri is already one of them. This bill would further limit local Internet choice despite incredibly successful municipal networks across the state - that is why a number of tech companies in and outside of Missouri have spoken out against SB 186.
SB 186 will be discussed in today's meeting of the Senate Local Government and Elections Committee at 10AM. See ILSR's post mortem of last year's rejected bill, HB 2078, and our continuing coverage at every step of the way.
About Christopher Mitchell:
Christopher Mitchell is the Diretor of the Community Broadband Networks initiative with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Mitchell leads the acclaimed MuniNetworks.org as part of ILSR's effort to ensure broadband networks are directly accountable to the communities that depend upon them. He is a leading national expert on community networks, advising high-ranking broadband decision-makers and speaking on radio and television programs across the United States.
FOR MORE INFORMATION and to schedule an interview with Christopher, call Nick Stumo-Langer at 612-844-1330 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.