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Senate Votes for Rules, Taxes on Municipal Broadband

State senators have tentatively passed a bill that would make it more difficult for municipalities in North Carolina to build their own Internet broadband systems. 

 Right now a handful of municipalities across the state provide their own internet broadband services to residents at subsidized rates. But cable companies are wary of the do-it-yourselfers. They say it's not fair that municipalities don't have to follow the same regulations to set up broadband services.

The measure would require municipal broadband providers to follow the same rules and pay the same taxes commercial companies do. But opponents of the measure say there's little incentive for the state's big cable companies to bring broadband to rural areas that could benefit economically from it. At least five communities that already offer the services would be exempt from new regulations. The measure has already passed the House.

Jessica Jones covers both the legislature in Raleigh and politics across the state. Before her current assignment, Jessica was given the responsibility to open up WUNC's first Greensboro Bureau at the Triad Stage in 2009. She's a seasoned public radio reporter who's covered everything from education to immigration, and she's a regular contributor to NPR's news programs. Jessica started her career in journalism in Egypt, where she freelanced for international print and radio outlets. After stints in Washington, D.C. with Voice of America and NPR, Jessica joined the staff of WUNC in 1999. She is a graduate of Yale University.
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