The House and Senate last week passed four bills seeking to make the expansion of wireless technologies easier in Missouri, and sent them to Gov. Jay Nixon. The Senate approved a fifth telcom bill on Feb. 6, and it’s on the House debate calendar for a final vote. The changes are intended to give cellphone users in Missouri faster service and better coverage in the next decade, but the benefits could come at a cost to cities.
The five bills, sponsored by Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah, touch on everything from the future of broadband to municipal autonomy. Local governments currently control how utilities use the community’s rights of way, inside their borders, but Lager’s bills seek to create a uniform process statewide.