A new bill which has made its way onto the floor of the Iowa Senate could mean that municipal telecommunications companies across the state could be forced to shut down, including Alta-Tec, which provides telephone, cable television and internet service to number of residents in the town.
Senate File 404, which passed both the Commerce and Ways and Means Committees in the Iowa Senate in late March, would prohibit cities from using general tax revenues to start up and maintain city-owned telecommunications companies. It would also open up records of all city enterprises to people or companies who seek such information during civil litigation, which could result in trade secrets and confidential information to be made public.
The bill, which is supported by Mediacom, the state's largest cable television provider, was introduced by Senator Jeff Angelo (R-District 48) of Creston, who is the chair of the Senate Commerce Committee.
Ron Chapman, the superintendent of Alta Utilities, said the proposed bill would be harmful for Alta and the 47 other city-owned telecom services in Iowa.
"It's just a terrible bill," Chapman said. "It would completely eliminate competition in cities and it's totally anti-municipalization. It's just absolutely horrible."
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