The Washington state legislature has voted to end limits on municipal broadband, and the bill lifting those restrictions now awaits the signature of Gov Jay Inslee (D-WA). The state Senate passed the bill (HB 1336) April 11 in a 27-22 vote, and the state House passed it in Feb. There's still one complication. A second bill (SB 5383) that would do much less to eliminate barriers to municipal broadband solutions passed the House on April 11 and had previously passed the Senate. The two competing bills have been sent to the state governor and it is expected one will be vetoed.
Pending Bills In WA State Legislature Aim To Allow Public Utility Districts to Partake in Retail Broadband Market
In Jan, bills aiming to advance broadband connectivity by allowing public entities to participate in the retail broadband market were presented in the House and Senate of the Washington State Legislature. The two bills have both cleared their respective chambers, and are waiting to be heard in committees of the opposite legislative chamber. Both bills aim to grant public entities, such as Public Utility Districts (PUDs) and ports, the authority to operate as Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
Wireless infrastructure deployment, particularly for small cell or distributed antenna systems, promise smart city innovation abilities. But this rollout is likely to be stymied until resolution of disputes between industry and municipalities. Local officials are upset that federal intervention – by Congress and by the Federal Communications Commission – is hampering their ability to govern their own rights-of-way.