News.com reports that a Senate bill moving forward won't allow states to prohibit municipal broadband: The Senate bill passed 15-7 in the commerce committee, and the influential Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), called the new language reasonable. Municipalities will have to provide 30 days notice before starting their own service and solicit private bids, but aren't required to accept those bids. The bill lacks net neutrality provisions, however, and might be held up for months or until next year.
A competing House bill states only that municipalities can't treat their own networks preferentially over other broadband providers. This might come in cases like Philadelphia in which a city has signed over its telecom business to a municipally authorized network. However, Philadelphia like others cities has moved to authorize rather than operate networks, which might exclude them from such provisions.