Today, Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA) introduced the Community Broadband Act of 2016 to preserve the right of local communities to provide community-owned broadband service. The bill follows a ruling from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in August striking down a Federal Communications Commission Order preempting state laws in North Carolina and Tennessee restricting service from community broadband providers.
The following can be attributed to Harold Feld, Senior Vice President at Public Knowledge:
“For over a decade, lobbyists for the largest broadband companies have fought a war against competition in state legislatures. As a result, more than 20 states have laws in place designed to prevent state or local governments from providing essential broadband services to their citizens.
“Rural communities in particular suffer as a result of these laws, often forced to do without broadband entirely, or must pay monopoly prices for slow and unreliable service. But even in urban communities, local governments should have the right to invest in high-speed competing broadband service in the same way they provide other infrastructure such as roads or schools. Cities such as Chattanooga, TN have attracted digital start ups and hundreds of millions of dollars in investment by providing affordable gigabit broadband. But the Tennessee law upheld by the Sixth Circuit prevents Chattanooga from expanding their service to new neighborhoods that desperately want the same opportunities.
“Rep. Eshoo’s bill would restore a vital tool to local and state governments to provide critical infrastructure for their residents, attract high paying tech jobs, and improve broadband competition where needed. Any city in America is free to spend taxpayer dollar on yet another mega-sports stadium if they think it will help support local businesses, but laws pushed by lobbyists prevent these same cities from offering vital broadband services. The Community Broadband Act would eliminate this absurd result and free local communities to spend local tax dollars on the broadband infrastructure they need for the 21st century.”
You may view the bill here.
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