WKU Public Radio News Staff
Wed August 27, 2014
Hoover: Kentucky Internet Woes Could Be Helped By Stalled Legislation
A recent survey shows Kentucky ranks near the bottom when it comes to average Internet speed. One Kentucky lawmaker says a bill that passed with bi-partisan support the Senate, but languished in the House, could help boost access to broadband.
Republican Floor Leader Jeff Hoover says Senate Bill 99 would have reduced companies’ obligation to provide traditional landline service to some areas of Kentucky, freeing them up to invest in broadband.
“Speaker[Greg] Stumbo made a commitment last summer that that bill would be voted on. He indicated he did not support it, but he would allow it to be voted upon this past legislation session,” said Hoover.
The bill was approved by the Kentucky Senate on a 34-4 vote, but was not put up for a full vote in the House. The Jamestown Rep. says the bill was changed this year to reduce the number of residents whose traditional landline service might be affected. He says it would have been less than 5,000 households.
“But the important thing was, it would have allowed AT&T and some others to move forward on their hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in infrastructure to better serve those exact areas,” said Hoover.
Critics object to the part of the bill that lets phone companies cut back on the areas in which they’re required to provide landline telephone service.
Hoover says faster and reliable broadband Internet is essential for Kentucky businesses and can help create jobs.
Stumbo has not responded to a request for comment.