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- “The real debate is not about whether it is a good idea for cities to get into the broadband business. Nor is it about whether states should restrict localities from getting into the broadband business. Those who work at the FCC, myself included, surely have opinions on those issues. But those are questions to be asked and answered in the fifty state capitals as well as other cities all across our country. Rather, the debate at the Commission is going to be about a relatively narrow but critical question: Does the FCC have the legal authority to preempt state laws regulating municipal broadband? And the answer to that question is a resounding no.”

“The point is this: We do not have the bandwidth to waste on a symbolic, feel-good effort that appears designed to appease a political constituency that is unhappy with where the FCC is headed on other issues. At the end of the day, nothing will come of it. That’s why the Commission’s work on this issue reminds me of the lyrics of a famous Beatles song. We will be “sitting in [our] nowhere land, making all [our] nowhere plans for nobody. The courts will see to that.”

“But after thinking about it more, the reality for municipal broadband advocates is even worse than that. For if the FCC had the power to preempt under Section 706, it wouldn’t have the power to give them everything they want. That’s because the biggest barriers to municipal broadband aren’t state laws. Indeed, most states don’t even impose restrictions on municipal broadband. Rather, the biggest obstacles to municipal broadband are things that the FCC can do little or nothing about: the belief among many local officials that government-run broadband is bad policy; and, of course, money.”

Excerpts from comments made at the National Conference of State Legislatures Summit in Minneapolis this week by FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai’s chief of staff Matthew Berry.

The above is a quote from the August 22, 2014 issue of the PTA Friday Report. To view the full issue, please log into the Active Members Only Section of this site (telcos only) or contact to be added to the distribution list (members only)



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State College, Pa

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PTA Small Company Meeting
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