South Carolina Erects New Barrier to Community Broadband
Another Big Political Win for AT&T
South Carolina has effectively passed H. 3508
, a bill backed by regional incumbent AT&T (see our previous report
), intended to make it more difficult for towns and cities to wire themselves for broadband -- even when nobody else will. The move comes on the heels of a similar effort in North Carolina last year, where regional incumbents Time Warner Cable and CenturyLink passed a similar bill after four previous failed attempts
. The bills are being pushed by companies who, in many of these markets, have failed to adequately meet broadband demand -- and in AT&T's case have frozen next-gen expansion plans. In both instances the bills layer municipalities with numerous additional burdens for the simple reason to help increase failure rate, in some instances requiring towns and cities to get permission from regional incumbents before improving their own local infrastructure. The South Carolina bill now heads to the desk of Governor Nikki R. Haley, who is currently facing an ethics hearing
for being a little too cozy with the State's business interests.