State senators have tentatively passed a bill that would make it more difficult for municipalities in North Carolina to build their own Internet broadband systems.
Right now a handful of municipalities across the state provide their own internet broadband services to residents at subsidized rates. But cable companies are wary of the do-it-yourselfers. They say it's not fair that municipalities don't have to follow the same regulations to set up broadband services.
The measure would require municipal broadband providers to follow the same rules and pay the same taxes commercial companies do. But opponents of the measure say there's little incentive for the state's big cable companies to bring broadband to rural areas that could benefit economically from it. At least five communities that already offer the services would be exempt from new regulations. The measure has already passed the House.