Wheeler: FCC Looking at Boosting Municipal Broadband

As part of a multi-pronged approach to restoring network neutrality rules and preserving broadband competition, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said Wednesday one thing the FCC would consider is easing the path to municipal broadband competition.

In a release outlining his effort to restore anti-blocking and the nondiscrimination rules that were thrown out, or at least back to the FCC, by the court, Wheeler said that one obvious candidate for enhancing competition was to look at loosening "legal restrictions on the ability of cities and towns to offer broadband services to consumers in their communities."

US Telecom, for one, was concerned about the potential preemption of state laws on municipal broadband.

"While we welcome Chairman Wheeler's inquiry," said US Telecom President Walter McCormick, "we nevertheless urge the commission to be careful as it considers new regulation, state preemption, and the breadth of its authority under Section 706 as each of these will have a direct impact on the nature of the Internet, the development of new service offerings, technological innovation, and broadband investment."

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.