Monday, July 15, 2024

Equal Access to Broadband Act Covered in the Media

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A proposed bill known as the Equal Access to Broadband Act is gaining support as it would allow local governments to negotiate franchise agreements for broadband providers to utilize the public right-of-way. The bill aims to ensure fair and complete delivery of broadband services without any discriminatory practices like redlining or cherry-picking.

CCX Media is backing this bill, highlighting the importance of franchising in promoting equal access to broadband infrastructure. The proposed legislation, HF4182, seeks to create a broadband franchise requirement that would provide compensation to local governments for allowing private broadband providers to use public rights-of-way. This compensation would then be utilized to support local public, educational, and government community television initiatives.

Drawing parallels to cable franchising, the establishment of the Northwest Suburbs Cable Communication Commission (NWSCCC) four decades ago has been instrumental in funding CCX Media. The bill’s primary sponsor is Rep. Mike Freiberg from Golden Valley, with support from Rep. Kristin Bahner of Maple Grove and Rep. Samantha Vang of Brooklyn Center.

The bill successfully passed through the House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee on March 11, marking a significant step in the legislative process. Those interested can find more details about the bill and the recent hearing in the Minnesota House’s write-up.

Overall, the Equal Access to Broadband Act aims to promote fair access to broadband services while ensuring local communities benefit from the private use of public rights-of-way. This legislation has the potential to advance broadband infrastructure and support community initiatives across various cities in Minnesota.

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