Final Bill Addressing Broadband Expansion Passes Senate

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Thursday, March 14th, 2019

The Senate passed Senate Bill 2, sponsored by Sen. Steve Gooch (R – Dahlonega). SB 2 is the third and final bill to pass the Senate this session that would expand access to broadband across the state.

“I am proud to announce that all three parts of my broadband expansion legislation have officially passed in the Senate,” said Sen. Gooch. “Not only did we work tirelessly to specify language that satisfied several parties through the Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee, a lot of work went into this legislation outside of these meetings. During the interim, I was a member of a Senate study committee that met with agencies from across the board to ensure that we heard potential issues and ideas from all interested parties. After these meetings, we created legislation based on our findings, the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee’s input and spent hours debating and amending the legislation to come to an agreement. I am proud of the work that went into drafting, debating and passing this legislation and I look forward to the positive impact Senate Bills 2, 17 and 66 will bring to all Georgians.”

Senate Bill 2 would enable Georgia’s 41 Electric Membership Corporations (EMCs) to provide internet services and broadband to their customers directly or indirectly through a broadband affiliate. Under SB 2, EMCs would be prohibited from cross subsidizing their broadband services with any other services they provide and the Georgia Public Service Commission would handle any disputes between the EMCs and companies they work with to provide broadband services.

Senate Bill 2 is now headed to the Georgia House of Representatives for consideration.