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Governor Bryant signs Broadband Enabling Act

Published by: David Helms Pontotoc Progress

Pontotoc, MS. (February 5, 2019) - Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant last week signed into law a bill allowing rural electric cooperatives to provide high-speed internet to their customers.

The new law, the Mississippi Broadband Enabling Act, seeks to address the lack of access to high-speed broadband internet that plagues Mississippians in almost all rural parts of the state.

"This is a success for the Mississippi Legislature, for all those involved," Bryant said of House Bill 366 in a signing ceremony at the state Capitol. "If anyone wants to know how this bill got passed so quickly talk to the rural electric associations, because we do, and we listen to them."

The member-owned organizations — which serve roughly half the state's population — have been restricted from offering anything but electricity due to a 1942 law. Some 60 percent of rural Mississippians lack high-speed internet access, according to a 2017 report by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee.

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