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News and comments on community broadband networks, the communities deploying them and the technologies that support them. Published by Denise Frey and Al Bonnyman.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2004

 

Pennsylvania: Municipal broadband not quite banned, but threatened

Pennsylvania lawmakers had until December 31 to agree on a new telecommunications regulatory scheme before the existing law died. Prior to the end of the year, the House overwhelmingly passed HB-30 but the Senate did not act on it before year end. HB-30 was strongly influenced and supported by Verizon and opposed by competitive providers and consumer advocates. Municipal broadband networks were not prohibited in the last version -- municipalities were given the option of building them if they first got the local telephone company's permission.

The Senate resumes its session later this month.

Karl Bode has done a good job of following this mess -- here are some of his articles from 2003 (from oldest to newest):

"State of Confusion"

"Bells Winning PA Debate"

"PA Telco Wishlist Passes House"


The text of all the competing bills can be found at the Chapter 30 resource center.

Square in the sights of Verizon and its allies is the Borough of Chambersburg, which has previously expressed interest in offering broadband connections locally. As it stands now, Chambersburg officials are left petitioning the state this month for help in getting broadband connections for their economic development projects.

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