Write your State Senator and Representative and ask them to support three broadband access measures and to oppose statewide cable franchise legislation pending in the Tennessee General Assembly.
Here's what I wrote:
Dear Sen. Finney and Rep. McCord:
I urge you to vote against and actively oppose SB1933/HB1421, which eliminates local control of cable franchises, regulates local franchise fees, restricts or eliminates customer service and quality standards, provides state regulation of local public right of way for the benefit of cable companies, restricts or eliminates local build-out requirements, and allows cable companies to create statewide franchises.
Contrary to claims of the lobbyists who wrote it, this legislation is not good for consumers or for local governments who know best what is needed in their communities and which areas are underserved. Local governments have a duty to maintain infrastructure rights of way for the benefit of all citizens and taxpayers in their communities.
I urge you to vote for and actively support the following three bills that would help expand broadband access in Tennessee. Broadband access, and particularly rural broadband access, is vital to our economy in terms of availability for businesses relocating here and maintaining a qualified workforce, and will also help cure the "digital divide" between poor working people and the more affluent.
HB2100/SB1572 would establish a non-profit "Tennessee Broadband Access Corporation to facilitate the deployment of broadband technologies across the state."
HB2103/SB1716 requires "the department of economic and community development to establish a ConnectTN program to bring statewide broadband expansion."
HB2099/SB1580 "Expands the membership of the Tennessee Broadband Task Force to include a representative of the department of education and requires the task force to submit an assessment of the state of broadband deployment on an annual basis."
UPDATE: Sen. Raymond Finney responds and says he will vote against SB1933 that would allow statewide cable franchises. Regarding the other three bills to help expand broadband access, he says he hasn't studied them sufficiently to make a decision but that he will.
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