TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas Senate committee has indefinitely postponed its hearing on a bill barring cities and counties from building broadband networks for Internet service. Senate Commerce Committee Chairwoman Julia Lynn said Monday she canceled the hearing on the bill initially scheduled for Tuesday. The Olathe Republican said telecommunications industry officials agreed to take more time to get input about the proposal. The Kansas Cable Telecommunications Association sought the measure and said it wanted the hearing canceled so interested parties could discuss the measure further. The bill would restrict cities and counties to building broadband networks only for underserved areas. Critics say the definition is so narrow that no place would qualify, leaving consumers with slow service. The association said it wants to prevent unfair competition from taxpayer-subsidized networks.
an earlier version of this story follows:
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Community broadband service would be banned under a bill that will come before a Kansas Senate committee Tuesday. The Wichita Eagle reports that a lobbyist for the cable TV industry introduced the bill. It would prohibit cities and counties from building public broadband networks and providing Internet service to their businesses and citizens. Commerce Committee chairwoman Julia Lynn says she doesn't think it's fair for government to compete with private enterprise for broadband customers. The Olathe Republican noted that municipalities don't have to pay property or franchise taxes. But committee member Tom Holland, a Baldwin City Democrat, says underserved several small towns in his district are considering setting up networks and that the bill would "just about shut that down."