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Bill Haslam

Rural broadband supporters call for change in Tennessee law

Rural lawmakers on Wednesday compared the dearth of broadband connections in their areas to being bypassed by electrification more than 80 years ago.

At a news conference at the state Capitol, advocates called for the Legislature to pass legislation this year to allow municipal utilities that offer broadband service to their customers to also provide ultra-fast Internet outside of their service areas.

The proposal has bogged down in recent years amid opposition from private Internet providers such as AT&T and Comcast, who argue that it's unfair for them to have to compete for customers against government-backed utilities.

But supporters of the change note that...