Berry: FCC Lacks Authority to State Laws on Muni Broadband

Matthew Berry, chief of staff to FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai says the FCC definitely doesn't have the legal authority to preempt state broadband laws.  

Matthew, who is former FCC general counsel and a former law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, was speaking Wednesday morning to the National Conference of State Legislatures' legislative summit in Minneapolis.  

Those are the legislators who would up passing those laws the FCC is eyeing for preemption. 

“The real debate is not about whether it is a good idea for cities to get into the broadband business, nor is it about whether states should restrict localities from getting into the broadband business," he planned to tell the crowd, according excerpts from his prepared remarks. "Rather, the debate at the Commission is going be about a relatively narrow but critical question:  Does the FCC have the legal authority to preempt state laws regulating municipal broadband?  And the answer to that question is a resounding no.” 

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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.