House Votes to Save Bans on City Internet Service

Republicans want to stop the FCC from preempting state laws.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.
National Journal
July 16, 2014, 12:12 p.m.

House Re­pub­lic­ans passed le­gis­la­tion Wed­nes­day to keep the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion from over­turn­ing state bans on city-owned In­ter­net pro­viders.

The vote is a warn­ing shot at the Fed­er­al Com­mu­nic­a­tions Com­mis­sion, which has been mulling tak­ing ac­tion against states that re­strict mu­ni­cip­al broad­band ser­vice.

Rep. Mar­sha Black­burn, a Ten­ness­ee Re­pub­lic­an, spear­headed the amend­ment that would bar the FCC from us­ing any funds to pre­vent states from im­pos­ing lim­its on city broad­band. The amend­ment, which is at­tached to a fisc­al 2015 spend­ing bill, passed mostly along party lines in a 223-200 vote.

Black­burn’s home state of Ten­ness­ee would be a likely first tar­get for FCC ac­tion.

Chat­tanooga, Tenn., has rolled out a high-speed fiber In­ter­net net­work for its res­id­ents. The ser­vice, called “Gig City,” of­fers speeds about 50 times faster than the na­tion­al av­er­age for about $70 per month.

A state law, however, is keep­ing the city from ex­pand­ing the ser­vice to oth­er com­munit­ies that want it, ac­cord­ing to the city’s may­or.

In a blog post last month, FCC Chair­man Tom Wheel­er said broad­band pro­jects like the one in Chat­tanooga are bring­ing new com­pet­i­tion and spur­ring eco­nom­ic growth. He ar­gued that loc­al gov­ern­ments “shouldn’t be stopped by state laws pro­moted by cable and tele­phone com­pan­ies that don’t want that com­pet­i­tion.”

“I be­lieve that it is in the best in­terests of con­sumers and com­pet­i­tion that the FCC ex­er­cises its power to pree­mpt state laws that ban or re­strict com­pet­i­tion from com­munity broad­band,” he said. “Giv­en the op­por­tun­ity, we will do so.”

Tele­com and cable com­pan­ies have been lob­by­ing for the state re­stric­tions around the coun­try, ar­guing that it’s not fair for them to com­pete with gov­ern­ment-owned In­ter­net pro­viders.

Re­pub­lic­ans ar­gue the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment shouldn’t pree­mpt state de­cisions on the is­sue and that the pro­jects of­ten waste tax­pay­er money.

What We're Following See More »
SENATE BEGINNING DEBATE
Paul Ryan Says No to Yemen Funding Bill This Year
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

"House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday pushed language through the House that will prevent lawmakers from taking up any resolution to end U.S. support for the war in Yemen this year. The language was passed just as the Senate was set to start debate on a resolution that aims to end U.S. involvement in Yemen, a response to anger over Saudi Arabia's involvement in the death of dissident Jamal Khashoggi."

Source:
AIMED AT INFLUENCING ELECTION
National Inquirer's Hush Money In "Concert With" Trump Campaign
1 hours ago
THE LATEST
HIS LAWYERS ASKED FOR LENIENCY
Cohen Sentenced to 36 Months in Prison
3 hours ago
THE LATEST
OWN STAKE IN FIRM THAT WOULD BENEFIT
Ivanka, Jared Conflicted Over Tax Break for Developers?
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS
HE WAS OBAMA'S HUD SECRETARY
Julian Castro Announces 2020 Exploratory Committee
5 hours ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login