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Friday, February 3, 2012 - 3:02am

Public Broadband Limits Draw Ire

Representatives from rural cities and counties across Georgia are balking at legislation aimed at public broadband networks proposed by a state senator who says such agencies should play by the same rules as private providers.

Several local governments struck back for nearly an hour on Thursday, telling a Senate panel they had to create their own broadband networks when private providers refused to come to their communities.

Senate Bill 313 would prevent public broadband providers from paying for communication networks with tax or government funds and from offering their services at below-cost prices. It would also require local governments to hold hearings and a special election to become a public provider.

Representatives from the major telecommunications networks voiced support for the plan, which they say encourages competitive fairness.