Bill passes allowing electric cooperatives to offer internet

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Mississippi lawmakers are passing a measure to allow the state’s electric cooperatives to offer high-speed internet service.

The Senate voted unanimously Wednesday for House Bill 366 , sending it to Gov. Phil Bryant for his signature or veto.

The measure would let Mississippi’s 25 electric cooperatives form subsidiaries to offer broadband internet service. They’re currently banned from doing so.

The bill, sponsored by Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn of Clinton, has been championed by Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley, a Democrat.

Cooperatives wouldn’t be required to enter the internet business and current customers wouldn’t be required to buy service.

The measure allows cooperatives to invest money, loan money or guarantee loans to affiliates, but says they can’t use revenue from electric sales to subsidize broadband. (AP)

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