This past week, the Missouri Senate Jobs, Economic Development and Local Government Committee voted in favor of Senate Bill 266, advancing the legislation closer to passage by the Senate. The bill would inhibit communities from developing high-quality gigabit Internet networks by barring any municipality from developing a network in an area currently served by a private provider without both issuing a feasibility study and putting the proposal up for popular vote.

As an organization, Next Century Cities is committed to the principle of local choice, and firmly believes that communities must be fully empowered to choose, free from any interference, whatever method is best suited to provide fast, affordable, and reliable Internet to its residents. As SB 266 awaits a final vote before the Missouri Senate, we hope that lawmakers in the Show Me State will seriously consider how best to support, rather than inhibit, local communities in making their own choice about the best path to a thriving future.

To learn more, see this article from the Columbia Tribune with background information about the bill, and check out this letter in opposition to the bill submitted by a coalition of private sector organizations and nonprofits.