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FCC: Local Broadband Laws That Ban City-Owned Networks May Be Overturned

Image: FCC: Local Broadband Laws That Ban City-Owned Networks May Be Overturned
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By    |   Tuesday, 03 Feb 2015 02:04 PM

The FCC is weighing in on a battle between municipalities and private broadband providers, hoping to block state laws that would prohibit cities from providing broadband service.

“Communities across the nation know that access to robust broadband is key to their economic future — and the future of their citizens,” Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement. “Many communities have found that existing private-sector broadband deployment or investment fails to meet their needs. They should be able to make their own decisions about building the networks they need to thrive.”

Wheeler is recommending FCC approval of a request by communities to pre-empt state laws that would prevent expansion of their networks. The city of Wilson, North Carolina, and the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga, Tennessee, petitioned the FCC to intervene, USA Today reported.

The FCC is expected to vote on the issue on Feb. 26.

Laws in 19 states prevent local governments from providing Internet services, USA Today said, and President Barack Obama has called for the FCC to push back on those laws.

The change would regulate high-speed Internet service like a public utility, The New York Times reported.

Internet service providers have opposed the move, saying it would threaten their investment in faster service, The Times said.

Wilson City Manager Grant Goings told The Wilson Times that he didn’t expect his city to be at the center of a national debate on Internet service.

"We just built a fiber-optic broadband utility for our community because our cable company refused to do so,” Goings said, according to the newspaper.

North Carolina later passed a law to limit how government competes against private industry, The Wilson Times said. Wilson is exempt from most of the law unless it expands its Internet network.

FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly has called overturning such state laws an "unnecessary interference.”

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The FCC is weighing in on a battle between municipalities and private broadband providers, hoping to block state laws that would prohibit cities from providing broadband service.
fcc, local, broadband, law
308
2015-04-03
Tuesday, 03 Feb 2015 02:04 PM
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