Arkansas State With Explicit Roadblocks

  • Arkansas State With Explicit Roadblocks

    Posted by Michael on August 11, 2021 at 8:39 am


    Ark. Code § 23-17-409

    Arkansas previously allowed municipalities that operate electric utilities to provide communications services, except that it expressly prohibited them from providing local exchange services. The state also did not permit other municipalities to provide communications services. (Ark. Code § 23-17-409)

    That said, in February 2021, Senate Bill 74 was signed into law, which effectively removed the largest restriction on municipal networks in the state. The new bill allows communities to “acquire, construct, furnish, or equip facilities for the provision of voice services, data services, broadband services, video services, or wireless telecommunications services” provided that they first “partner, contract, or otherwise affiliate with an entity that is experienced in the operation of the facilities.” Interested municipalities must also conduct due diligence, provide ten-days’ advance notice, and hold a public hearing on the matter.

    Despite this, just before the bill was ultimately signed by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, it was amended to remove language expressly permitting municipalities to construct, own and operate broadband networks. This makes the final bill somewhat unclear, and though we have removed the state from our explicit restrictions list, it remains to be seen what the environment for municipal broadband will look like in the state going forward.

    Michael replied 1 year, 5 months ago 1 Member · 0 Replies
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