Some say it shows the lobbying of AT&T and private corporations who don't want the added competition

The state of South Carolina has passed a bill that will make it quite challenging for municipalities to make their own publicly-owned Internet service provider (ISP).

The bill passed the South Carolina General Assembly and Senate last Wednesday. It isn't a complete ban on municipalities creating their own ISPs, but doing so would prove to be very difficult.

The bill looks a bit shady to many. Some, like analyst Phillip Dampier, say it shows the lobbying of AT&T and private corporations who don't want the added competition. Also, the bill shows that broadband is considered a minimum of of 190 kilobits per second.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which lobbies local, state and federal representatives for certain bills that reflect their own priorities, wrote on its website that private corporations should be protected when it comes to publicly-owned ISPs.

"If municipalities are inclined to pursue broadband initiatives then certain safeguards must be put in place in order to ensure that private providers, with whom the municipality will compete with, are not disadvantaged by the municipality in the exercise of its bonding and taxing authority, management of rights of way, assessment of fees or taxes, or in any other way," wrote ALEC.

AT&T, a member of ALEC, provided $1,000 in 2011 to the lead author of the South Carolina bill, Michael Gambrell.

The bill now only awaits the state governor's signature. The bill can be found here.

Source: Ars Technica

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