Sen. Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga) told supporters at the state Capitol, "We're talking about AT&T. They're the most powerful lobbying organization in this state by far. Don't fall for the argument that this is a free-market-versus-government battle. It is not. AT&T is the villain here, and so are the other people and cable." Supporters of the bill say "AT&T in Tennessee received $156 million from an Obama administration program aimed at expanding access to broadband," while opposing governmental entities like EPB expanding beyond their normal service areas to offer broadband.
House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) told National Federation of Independent Business-Tennessee members this week that "she doesn't expect the General Assembly will take up the issue this year after Gov. Bill Haslam's economic development officials announced they were initiating a study," Sher writes. "But the bill's House sponsor, Rep. Kevin Brooks (R-Cleveland) said he is 'absolutely' pressing forward with the bill. It has been put on notice to be heard in March in House subcommittee." Brooks told Sher, "There was a misconception that the broadband bill was dead. The bill is not dead." (Read more)