House panel kills compromise on EPB broadband expansion to underserved areas of Hamilton, Bradley counties

Tennessee state Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland, speaks to the media in 2012.

NASHVILLE - Despite a last-ditch effort, Tennessee Rep. Kevin Brooks' effort on Tuesday to salvage his municipal broadband expansion bill by scaling it down to a demonstration project failed to win support in a key House panel.

Brooks, R-Cleveland, and other proponents later blasted powerful investor-owned telecommunication providers such as AT&T and Comcast for the loss. And conceding defeat this year, they vowed to return in 2017.

"It's a testament to the power of lobbying against this bill and not listening to our electorate," Brooks told reporters after leaving the House Business and Utilities Subcommittee, where his effort to narrow the original bill failed on a 5-3 vote.

photo Tennessee State Rep. Kevin Brooks (R-Cleveland) participates in a Chattanooga Times Free Press legislative roundtable on Monday.