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Haslam signs rural broadband bill

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Gov. Bill Haslam has signed a bill seeking to make it easier for rural areas to get access to the internet. The Republican governor gave official approval to the Broadband Accessibility Act of 2017 at a ceremony in Brownsville on Tuesday afternoon. The measure clears the way for nonprofit electric co-ops to start providing both internet and video service. It also provides $45 million in grants and tax credits to co-ops and internet service providers, like AT&T and Comcast, to encourage the development of internet in areas that don't have it. A last-minute change adopted by lawmakers lowered the minimum internet speed requirement from download speeds from the federal definition of 25 megabits per second to 10 megabits per second.

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