Court Overturns FCC Ruling That Pushes For Expansion Of City-Owned Broadband Services: What This Means To Consumers : TECH : Tech Times
AdvertisementA federal appeals court overturned a ruling by the Federal Communications Commission that pushes for the expansion of city-owned broadband services into areas that are not being serviced by commercial providers.The decision is seen as a victory for private companies that provide internet services and a setback for the FCC and its chairman, Tom Wheeler.The ruling involves a dispute between the FCC and the states of North Carolina and Tennessee over the expansion of the high-speed broadband internet services that have been established in their respective cities of Wilson and Chattanooga to adjacent areas.
Court Rules FCC Cannot Overrule State Laws Limiting City-Run Broadband
A federal appeals court panel has ruled this week that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) overstepped its powers by attempting to subvert and overrule state laws that forbid cities from developing and operating their own broadband networks and competing with private providers.This is a big deal in reining in an FCC that is attempting to intervene more and more in how Americans receive internet access, and it also represents a blow against a potential avenue for porkbarrel federal infrastructure spending in whatever projects the next president hopes to put into place (both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have each promised hundreds of billions of dollars in more federal spending in these areas).The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled unanimously (3-0) that the FCC did not have the authority to bypass state laws that restrict or forbid municipal development and operation of broadband.
FCC Loses Court Battle For Municipal Broadband Networks
The FCC has lost a major court fight in its battle to let cities create their own broadband networks.A federal court has ruled that the commission was overstepping its authority by trying to remove state laws that prevent the creation of municipal networks, something it attempted to do in both Wilson, North Carolina, and Chattanooga, Tennessee.In both cases, cities petitioned the FCC for permission to build their own networks, in an attempt to increase competition with internet providers in their area.
U.S. Court Rules Against FCC Municipal Broadband Efforts
Last year, the FCC made a bold push to let cities and counties around the county make significant investments in their high-speed internet infrastructure.On Wednesday, a trio of federal judges dealt that effort a major setback.The Federal Communications Commission issued a ruling in February striking down laws imposed by the state governments of Tennessee and North Carolina that limited the expansion of municipal broadband networks set up by cities in those states.
Federal Court Rejects FCC Plan To Save Municipal Broadband From Archaic State Regulations
The Federal Communications Commission led by chairman Tom Wheeler suffered a setback today in its plan to encourage and allow cities to build and expand their own broadband networks, as a federal appeals court ruled the agency didn’t have the authority to block two states from setting limits on municipal broadband expansion.Municipalities in Chattanooga, Tennessee and Wilson, North Carolina wanted to expand their broadband networks to neighboring communities and counties, which would increase competition with private Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that have regional monopolies.However, there are laws in place that prevent them from doing so.A majority vote by the FCC in 2015 to issue an order pre-empting state law as it pertains to its authority to “remove barriers to broadband investment and competition” as part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 didn’t fly with the appellate court.Wheeler voiced his displeasure with the ruling, criticizing the impact it will have on jobs and investments that broadband provides.