Last fall, I convened the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) to study and recommend the best ways to increase reliable access to the internet and the broadband necessary to provide it for all Tennesseans.
The goal is to determine the availability and adoption of high-speed Internet access from all technologies to residences and businesses in Tennessee and to study and recommend actions which federal, state or local governments might take to help the industry as a whole increase the availability of broadband to everyone in Tennessee.
Defining the appropriate role of government at all levels in private sector deployment, including measures to guard against inadvertent interference with the free market, is one of our objectives.
In our methodical, in-depth investigation thus far, we have learned about extensive investment in broadband by the private sector—companies of all sizes—and important plans already underway to accelerate that deployment in Tennessee. We have also learned about the ability of some local governmental entities and electric cooperatives to provide broadband and the desire of others to expand.
Our report will outline general recommendations and a number of options for consideration by the Governor and the General Assembly, some of which may require either new legislation or additional funding or both.
A preliminary draft of the TACIR report will be presented for consideration this fall in a public meeting broadcast via the Internet.
TACIR’s final report, which will be presented after the first of the year and before the next General Assembly convenes, will serve as the foundation for development of sound strategies to extend the reach of broadband technology to every corner of the state in the most cost effective and responsible manner.
Written by Tennessee Sen. Mark Norris (R-Collierville). He may be reached via the contact page of his website at marknorris. org/blog1/. See his Facebook page and follow him as @SenatorNorris on Twitter.