Where states stand on municipal broadband

State Summary (provided by Ars Technica)
Alabama Municipal communications services must be self-sustaining, "thus impairing bundling and other common industry marketing practices." Municipalities cannot use "local taxes or other funds to pay for the start-up expenses that any capital-intensive project must pay until the project is constructed and revenues become sufficient to cover ongoing expenses and debt service."
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Arkansas Only municipalities that operate electric utilities may provide communications services, but they aren't allowed to provide "basic local exchange service," i.e. traditional phone service.
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California Public entities are generally allowed to provide communications services, but "Community Service Districts" may not if any private entity is willing to do so.
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Colorado Municipalities must hold a referendum before providing cable, telecommunications, or broadband service, unless the community is unserved.
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Florida Imposes special tax on municipal telecommunications service and a profitability requirement that makes it difficult to approve capital-intensive communications projects.
Related statutes: 125.421, 166.047, 196.012, 199.183, 212.08 and 350.81
Louisiana Municipalities must hold referendums before providing service and "impute to themselves various costs that a private provider might pay if it were providing comparable services."
Related statuses: 45:844.47-45:844.56
Michigan Municipalities must seek bids before providing telecom services and can move forward only if they receive fewer than three qualified bids.
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Minnesota 65 percent of voters must approve before municipalities can offer local exchange services or operate facilities that support communications services.
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Missouri Cities and towns can't sell telecom services or lease telecom facilities to private providers "except for services used for internal purposes; services for educational, emergency, and health care uses; and 'Internet-type' services."
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Nebraska Public broadband services are generally prohibited except when provided by power utilities. However, "public power utilities are permanently prohibited from providing such services on a retail basis, and they can sell or lease dark fiber on a wholesale basis only under severely limited conditions."
Related statutes: 86-575 & 86-594
Nevada Municipalities with at least 25,000 residents and counties with at least 50,000 residents may not provide telecommunications services.
Related statutes: 710.147 & 268.086
North Carolina "Numerous" requirements make it impractical to provide public communications services. "For example, public entities must comply with unspecified legal requirements, impute phantom costs into their rates, conduct a referendum before providing service, forego popular financing mechanisms, refrain from using typical industry pricing mechanisms, and make their commercially sensitive information available to their incumbent competitors."
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Pennsylvania Municipalities cannot sell broadband services if a "local telephone company" already provides broadband, even if the local telephone company charges outrageously high prices or offers poor quality service.
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South Carolina The state "requires governmental providers to comply with all legal requirements that would apply to private service providers, to impute phantom costs into their prices, including funds contributed to stimulus projects, taxes that unspecified private entities would incur, and other unspecified costs."
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Tennessee Municipalities that own electric utilities may provide telecom services "upon complying with various public disclosure, hearing, voting, and other requirements that a private provider would not have to meet. Municipalities that do not operate electric utilities can provide services only in 'historically unserved areas,' and only through joint ventures with the private sector."
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Texas The state "prohibits municipalities and municipal electric utilities from offering telecommunications services to the public either directly or indirectly through a private telecommunications provider." Related statutes
Utah Various procedural and accounting requirements imposed on municipalities would be "impossible for any provider of retail services to meet, whether public or private." Municipal providers that offer services at wholesale rather than retail are exempt from some of the requirements, "but experience has shown that a forced wholesale-only model is extremely difficult, or in some cases, impossible to make successful."
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Virginia Municipal electric utilities can offer phone and Internet services "provided that they do not subsidize services, that they impute private-sector costs into their rates, that they do not charge rates lower than the incumbents, and that [they] comply with numerous procedural, financing, reporting and other requirements that do not apply to the private sector." Other requirements make it nearly impossible for municipalities to offer cable service, except in Bristol, which was grandfathered.
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Washington The state "authorizes some municipalities to provide communications services but prohibits public utility districts from providing communications services directly to customers."
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Wisconsin Cities and towns must "conduct a feasibility study and hold a public hearing prior to providing telecom, cable, or Internet services." Additionally, the state "prohibits 'subsidization' of most cable and telecom services and prescribes minimum prices for telecommunications services."
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