By Alyssa Schnugg
A Rural Broadband Internet bill that will allow electric power associations to provide internet services passed the House by a vote of 115 to 3 Tuesday afternoon.
Prior to the House passing the bill on Tuesday, it was passed Monday by the House Public Utilities Committee and now goes to the Senate for consideration.
The bill removed an old law that bans electrical cooperatives, like North East Mississippi Electric Power Association, from offering internet services.
Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley asked local governments to show support for the change over the summer.
A federal bill allocates $600 million for electric cooperatives and rural utilities to bring broadband to rural areas; however, Mississippi cannot receive any of those funds until EPAs can offer internet services.
If successful in the Senate and signed into law by the Governor, the bill would only abolish the current law. All internet carriers would still be allowed to serve any rural community they choose. It would only now allow electrical cooperatives to offer the service.