Administration to FCC: Communities Need Flexibility to Fill Broadband Needs

As advertised, the Obama administration has sent a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in support of municipal broadband, but it was a more measured advisory than the one the President had telegraphed, saying that communities building and operating their own infrastructure is not always or even "typically" the best solution for meeting a community's broadband needs.

The letter, from National Telecommunications & Information Administration chief Lawrence Strickling, the President's chief telecom policy adviser, does not offer the FCC explicit support for preempting state laws that limit municipal broadband buildouts, but it does lay a case out for the importance of local government-supported broadband "in cases where existing providers are not meeting a community's needs," and says cities' flexibility should not be limited.

To that extent it does not go as far as the President did in his speech on high-speed broadband this week. The President said that in many places incumbent ISPs are "doing everything they can" to "stamp out" competition. He said "enough is enough," and called on the FCC to do whatever it could to push back on those laws.

For the full story go to

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.