Broadband Providers Say Watson Bill Favors Electric Utilities

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Broadband providers are hitting "a new, outrageously high fee" sponsored in the state Senate by Hamilton County's Bo Watson.

Corum Webb of the Tennessee Cable Telecommunications Association said it is proposed by "municipal electrics and electric cooperatives."

The bill is sponsored in the House by Rep. Jimmy Matlock (R-Lenoir City).

Mr. Webb said, "The legislation would nearly double the rates for broadband companies to attach to utility poles. Currently, these providers pay an average of $17 per pole per year, which is already among the highest rates in the country.

"This bill would force those rates to $33 per pole per year (a 94 percent increase) causing Tennessee to have the highest rates in the country by an enormous margin."

He claimed the fee increase "would lead to a delay in broadband expansion and higher rates for cable consumers statewide."

A Senate Committee Hearing is scheduled to review the bill (SB1222/HB1111) on Tuesday.

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