5 States to Watch in the Community Broadband Fight

BY  APRIL 18, 2014

The State Capitol in Topeka, Kan.

The battle between local governments and telecommunications providers over the right to establish community broadband networks heated up over the last several months, as a number of bills were introduced that could have significant impact on municipalities in five states.

Kansas, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Utah and Tennessee were all in the spotlight earlier this year regarding everything from de-facto bans on community networks to funding and development issues. Some of the bills were pulled off the table, while others have continued through their respective states’ legislative processes.

Government Technology took a closer look at the broadband concerns in those states and what public-sector technologists should keep tabs on moving forward.

KANSAS

Legislation was introduced in late January that would prevent local governments in Kansas from creating their own broadband networks or partnering with companies to provide them.Senate Bill 304 — the Municipal Communications Network and Private Telecommunications Investments Safeguard Act — may have also made expansion of Google Fiber in the state more difficult. Backed by the Kansas Cable Telecommunications Association, the bill was chided by critics who were adamant that its language would greatly restrict how public funds could be used to subsidize broadband initiatives.

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About Mark Milliman

Mark Milliman is a Principal Consultant at Inphotonics Research driving the adoption and assisting local governments to plan, build, operate, and lease access open-access municipal broadband networks. Additionally, he works with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to increase the value of their intellectual capital through the creation of strategic product plans and execution of innovative marketing strategies. With more than 22 years of experience in the telecommunications industry that began at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Mark has built fiber, cable, and wireless networks around the world to deliver voice, video, and data services. His thorough knowledge of all aspects of service delivery from content creation to the design, operation, and management of the network is utilized by carriers and equipment manufacturers. Mark conceived and developed one of the industry's first multi-service provisioning platform and is multiple patent holder. He is active in the IEEE as a senior member. Mark received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
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