Upton/Walden: History Is Littered With Failed Muni Broadband

House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Communications chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) gave a shout out to private industry in the wake of the President's speech touting municipal broadband and federal preemption of state laws limiting it.

“With precious dollars already stretched thin, state and local officials know better than beltway bureaucrats what’s best for their communities. We should applaud and encourage private investment to develop state-of-the-art broadband networks,” they said in a statement.

“The Internet is a great American success story that gets better by the day because of the billions of dollars that are invested every year to expand and improve broadband access and speeds, and because of limited federal government interference. That private investment is the engine that drives Internet innovation and brings high-speed Internet access to every corner of our country – a goal we all share.”

The President traveled to Cedar Falls, Iowa, to promote high-speed broadband and the Cedar Falls Utilities municipal system's 1 gig service. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has also signaled that he wants a February vote on a couple of petitions my municipalities to preempt state laws, a vote that will likely be in support of those petitions.

“Cedar Falls is a success story," the legislators said, "but not all communities have seen the same results. The history of municipal Internet access is littered with many costly failures that no one wants to repeat. We urge the commission to work with Congress through our CommActUpdate process to improve our laws, promote continued investment in Internet infrastructure, and spur competition."

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.