Update on the bill:
At this time, the Subcommittee recommends the indefinite postponement of this bill.
It's been almost a year since iVinton officially went live. In that year, the city has added over 800 customers to its service. The network has been put to work during this last year with many people working from home and students learning from home. If you are fortunate enough to have the service installed, you are finding that it works like real internet service that we had only heard about in other areas of the state.
Vinton had been at the mercy of large companies and their failure to invest in Vinton's service for decades. With internet service being as important as electricity, it was necessary for Vinton to step up. Residents voted to create and install their own service.
When Vinton, as well as several other smaller communities, did the same thing, the "big boys" who are losing customers because of their poor service, decided to take their case to lawmakers. In an effort to cripple towns like Vinton as well as any other communities who might be thinking of creating their own service, they have introduced a bill to make it almost impossible for small towns to do what we were able to do. The bill is also designed to cripple any attempt towns like Vinton have at being successful.
For towns that have already installed the service, they have included a possible change in the proposed law so that services like iVinton could not compete with the "big boys." In the proposed bill wording would make it illegal for utilities like iVinton to compete in their pricing. In other words, the "big boys" could come into Vinton, offer service cheaper than iVinton, promise you the moon, like they always do, lock you into a contract because they need control, and in doing that, they could put iVinton at risk.
It also prevents businesses like iVinton to invest in construction, expansion or updates to their infrastructure and hinders their ability to expand.
This proposed new bill is directed specifically at communities like ours. There is only a handful of us out here in Iowa providing for ourselves.
For those of us using iVinton, we've found it to be a wonderful service. We don't mind paying for something that is owned by Vinton. It's an investment in our community. What this bill would do is undercut and make it impossible for iVinton to compete like a business. Something the "big guys" don't like. Why? Competition is good, isn't it? Unless you can't compete with the little guy. So when that happens, you squish the little guy like a bug.
The bill is currently sitting in committee and has not yet made it to the floor.