Municipal broadband watchdog Phillip Dampier said the passage of the bill is a display of the lobbying power of AT&T, South Carolina's largest private Internet provider, Cyrus Farivar of Ars Technica reports. Dampier and others also allege the bill was written by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative advocacy group that holds conferences for legislators and lobbyists. Farivar reports that AT&T is a member of ALEC and contributed $1,000 to South Carolina legislator Michael Gambrell, lead author of the bill. ( Read more)
Orangeburg and Oconee counties had already received federal funding to expand broadband, with Orangeburg County getting $2.4 million, Gene Zaleski of The Times and Democrat in Orangeburg reported. Seventy-five percent of the project was to be funded by U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service money. It's unclear now whether the county will still receive that funding.