Gainesville City Commission strikes down affordable internet proposal

Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 1:12 AM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Expanding affordable broadband internet access is not moving at high speed after commissioners struck down a proposal in a North-Central Florida city.

If that proposal passed, residents would have the option to pay at least $30 a month.Residents who do not make that much would have had the option of free internet. 

At the meeting, Magellan consultants proposed an affordable internet plan. Although the company said this would profit the city to the tune of more than 9 million dollars.

That was not enough to sway the commission, as it feels there are too many risks that could cause legal problems.

“A Florida statute called the Florida deceptive and unfair practices act. This act is usually used by consumers. It’s not often used for competitors. Some creative lawyers could bring a suit under this statute,” said Senior Assistant City Attorney Lisa Bennet.

One resident feels the funds should go elsewhere.

“I think this money should be used wisely, it should go towards housing, not in broadband. Why put it in broadband when people do not have places to stay,” said Evelyn Foxx Alachua County NAACP President.

The money for the expansion would have come from federal funds. If this proposal were passed it would have given at least 5000 people an affordable internet option.

Some said this was the one and only opportunity the city had to use federal funds to expand broadband internet.

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