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Albany looks to Chattanooga as a model for municipal internet service

Apr 11, 2021 5:47 am

Larry Rulison reports in the Times Union that the City of Albany is now looking into creating its own internet service. Mayor Kathy Sheehan is creating a five-person Commission on Municipal Internet Service to look at the feasibility of starting a city-owned high-speed internet service modeled after the municipal internet service offered by Chattanooga, Tenn. There, residents get internet service that reaches download speeds of one gigabyte per second for $67.99. The Tennessee city claims $2.7 billion in economic benefits over the past decade because of the cheap, reliable service. "Creating high-speed, reliable, affordable, and citizen-owned internet service has shown to be a major economic boost in municipalities where such infrastructure exists," Sheehan's office says in a posting seeking members for the new board, who would serve two-year terms. "Providing this service would also serve as a significant benefit in every neighborhood in Albany, particularly in neighborhoods where unemployment and poverty rates are high." Major internet providers have banded together to get states to pass laws against municipalities offering their own internet service, after Chattanooga's success with public internet service. Now there's a new bill in Congress, “to prohibit a State or political subdivision thereof from providing or offering for sale to the public retail or wholesale broadband internet access service." Read more about this story in the Times Union.