Markey, Booker, McCaskill, King, and Wyden Praise FCC Action on Municipal Broadband
Senators introduced Community Broadband Act in January
Legislation seeks to preserve rights of cities and towns to build municipal broadband networks
Washington, DC – U.S. Sens. Cory A. Booker, D-N.J., Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Angus King, I-Maine, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today praised the FCC for voting to grant petitions allowing local governments in North Carolina and Tennessee to pursue municipal broadband projects. Currently, laws in 19 states ban or significantly hinder local broadband investments.
“I salute the FCC’s vote to preserve the rights of communities trying to make important broadband investments,” Sen. Booker said. “As mayor of Newark, I saw how cities are often in the best position to innovate and find solutions to the specific challenges facing their residents. Sadly, some states have enacted laws that bar cities from connecting their communities. With this vote, the FCC is standing up for the rights of municipalities over special interests that may not find it profitable to invest in low-income and rural areas. It’s another step in the right direction as Americans seek to leverage their strengths in the digital age.”
“Tearing down barriers that prevent communities from developing local solutions when there is little or no choice in Internet service provider is one of the great challenges for competition and innovation in the broadband marketplace,” Sen. Markey said. “Today’s action by the FCC will support the ability of municipalities to decide for themselves whether or not they would like to build their own broadband networks and provide community members with high speed Internet service. I applaud the FCC for using its authority to support greater local choice and end restrictions placed upon local communities to make these decisions for themselves.”
“This vote is good news for folks in small towns and rural areas,” Sen. McCaskill said. “I’m glad the FCC set a precedent that acknowledges the internet needs of residents in our smaller communities—who deserve the same access as everyone else to the internet—and the jobs and business opportunities the internet brings.”
“More and more communities across the country are recognizing that access to high-speed broadband is an economic and educational necessity,” Sen. King said. “In areas where affordable access to next-generation speeds doesn’t exist, forward-looking towns and cities – like Rockport, South Portland, and Ellsworth in Maine – are partnering with broadband providers to connect their public buildings, businesses, and residences. Today’s decision to clear the way for the expansion of municipal broadband projects sends an important message of support to localities around the country that are taking charge of their economic futures.”
“Expanding access to the Internet is key for economic growth in rural Oregon and the rest of the U.S.,” Sen. Wyden said. “Whether it’s getting the next big thing out of the garage, allowing a student quick access to information or increasing broadband competition, everyone benefits when communities can provide broadband. Today’s vote will foster innovation and let communities make their own decisions about how to expand broadband.”
Recognizing that municipal broadband can serve as a practical and affordable option to towns and cities, the senators introduced the Community Broadband Act in January. The legislation would prohibit states from enacting laws that ban or inhibit communities from making broadband investments. More information on the legislation can be found here.