By Emily Ford
Local officials say they have convinced state legislators to exempt Salisbury from a bill that would limit the ability of municipalities to operate broadband networks.
Salisbury recently launched Fibrant, a fiber to the home network that competes with private telecommunication companies to provide Internet, phone and cable TV service.
This marks the fourth year that legislation threatens municipal broadband systems like Fibrant.
But Mayor Susan Kluttz said state lawmakers have assured her they will rewrite the bill to exempt Salisbury and other cities with networks that are up and running.
“We were able to have a really positive discussion with them and explain to them what this situation means and the impact it could have on Salisbury,” said Kluttz, who spent a day and a half in Raleigh with Assistant City Manager Doug Paris meeting with legislators.
Sponsors pulled the bill, which was scheduled to be heard Wednesday by the Public Utilities Committee.
“They did not want to do anything to harm Salisbury or any other city,” Kluttz said. “There was already some partial exemption in the bill, and we expect to have full exemption.”