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Feb 18

Rural towns up in arms over broadband service bill

A bill that would prohibit counties, cities and government authorities from expanding broadband service in some places is going to face a fight.

House Bill 282 by state Rep. Mark Hamilton, R-Cumming, says public broadband subsidized by public money should stick to underserved areas, leaving companies to handle the load everywhere else.

But some rural legislators say companies simply will not bring the highest-speed Internet to their residents because it doesn’t turn a profit.

Fort Valley, Sandersville and a dozen other rural jurisdictions offer broadband inside and outside their city limits.

But bill supporters argue they are closing off an opportunity for government waste.

The bill may have its first hearing as early as today.

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