Municipalities Ask the FCC to Consider Preemption of State Restrictions on Municipal Broadband

Thursday, July 31, 2014

On July 24, 2014, the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the City of Wilson, North Carolina, filed separate petitions asking the FCC to consider whether their states’ laws prohibit the deployment of high-speed broadband services in a reasonable and timely manner. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has spoken repeatedly about his desire to address state laws that prohibit or restrict municipal broadband networks. These petitions provide the chairman the opportunity to take action. On July 28, 2014, the FCC published a public notice about the two petitions (available here and here), which specifically ask the SEC to act in accordance with Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to preempt portions of their respective state laws that restrict their ability to provide broadband services. Interested parties may file comments with the FCC through August 29, 2014.