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House passes bill to let power cooperatives offer internet

MGN Online

The Mississippi House is approving a measure to allow the state's electric cooperatives to offer high-speed internet.

Posted: Jan. 15, 2019 3:41 PM
Updated: Jan. 15, 2019 4:51 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi House is approving a measure to allow the state's electric cooperatives to offer high-speed internet.

Representatives voted for House Bill 366 on Tuesday, 115-3 vote, sending it to the Senate for more debate.

The measure would allow Mississippi's 25 electric cooperatives to form subsidiaries to offer broadband internet service. They're currently prohibited from doing so.

The bill is sponsored by Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn of Clinton and has been championed by Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley, a Democrat.

Cooperatives wouldn't be required to go into the internet business and current customers wouldn't be required to buy the service.

The bill allows cooperatives to invest money, loan money or guarantee loans to their affiliates, but says they can't use revenue from electric sales to subsidize broadband.

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