Rural areas in Marion County could still get broadband access | Times Free Press: JASPER, Tenn. — Like many local governments across Tennessee, Marion County leaders have been pushing for a couple of years to change state laws that restrict municipal utilities like EPB's gigabit internet, TV, and phone services from expanding beyond current borders. EPB has petitioned the state and the Federal Communications Commission, too, and Mike Partin, president and CEO of the Sequatchee Valley Electric Cooperative, said broadband access has been "widely debated across the state."That argument would hold water but for a single fatal flaw: telecommunications infrastructure is not by nature a competitive market but rather a natural monopoly/duopoly. Shouting "unfair competition" in a noncompetitive market doesn't pass the straight face test.
"So far in the [state] Legislature, that has been defeated," he said. "AT&T has a pretty extensive lockdown, it seems like, in the Legislature. That's one of the holdups." Telecommunications companies such as AT&T and Comcast argue that it's unfair to allow government to compete the market with private industry. (Emphasis added)