Restrictive State Laws Create “Internet Deserts”
In Tennessee there are seven (7) electric service companies that, in addition to providing electric power, also provide lightning-fast fiber optic broadband internet connectivity to their customers. One of these electric service companies, the Electric Power Board (EPB) in Chattanooga, has become famous the world over for providing this wonderful service (EPBFI) to most of the citizens of Hamilton County, Tennessee. However, cross over the county line into Bradley County, and it becomes an “internet desert.” Current state laws no not allow the electric companies, including EPB, to provide any kind of service outside their “electric power footprint.” These state laws include Tennessee Code, Section 7-52-103(c) and Section 7-52-601(a).
Meanwhile the telecoms, whose lobbyists have helped our state politicians draft these restrictive laws, are in no way required to provide us the service that they deny the electric service companies from so doing. SO THEY DON’T! These laws have been in effect for over fifteen (15) years, because the telecoms’ armies of highly paid lobbyists have convinced our state politicians that they have the state covered with their services. They have our politicians also convinced that any of us that are not covered by some “slim” chance are not worth worrying about anyway, because we are rural “rubes”. One telecom spokesman recently spoke words to this effect not long ago, in a public meeting.