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Speaker of the House Philip Gunn and members of the Mississippi House of Representatives passed House Bill 366, the “Mississippi Broadband Enabling Act.” The bill passed by a vote of 115-3.

“I’m proud of the House for stepping up to provide a solution to our constituents who need and want access to broadband,” said Speaker Philip Gunn. “We have put in a lot of work on this issue and had numerous meetings with all parties affected. The lack of access to broadband is a serious issue that touches people in all corners of our state.

“This legislation includes provisions designed to protect the rate payer and provide transparency,” he continued.

Highlights of the legislation are below:

1. Every Electric Cooperative of Mississippi (ECM) is authorized to provide broadband services via an affiliate company.

2. ECMs cannot use revenue from energy sales to subsidize broadband ventures.

3. Before broadband may be offered, each ECM must conduct an economic feasibility study and develop a plan showing how the ECM proposes to provide broadband service to its customer.

4. ECMs cannot require any person to purchase broadband services, and the purchase of broadband services cannot be a condition to continuing to receive electric power service.

5. ECMs must conduct an annual audit to ensure compliance with the law.

 

 

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