Federal Community Broadband Act proposed to remove state barriers for public networks

Last week, US Senators Cory Booker, D-NJ, Edward J. Markey, D-Mass, and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo introduced the Community Broadband Act to preserve the rights of cities and localities to build municipal broadband networks. It coincides with President Obama’s recent request that the FCC look into removing such barriers.

Here’s what I see as the high level meat of the act

No statute, regulation, or other legal requirement of a State or local government may prohibit, or have the effect of prohibiting or substantially inhibiting, any public provider from providing telecommunications service or advanced telecommunications capability or services to any person or any public or private entity.

And there’s a “safeguard” that might in the end serve private providers as well as public. Perhaps digging from both sides of the tunnel, local governments will find better ways to deal with permitting and rights-of-way

(a) ADMINISTRATION —To the extent any public provider regulates competing providers of telecommunications services or advanced telecommunications capability or services, the public provider shall apply its ordinances, rules, and policies, including those relating to the use of public rights-of-way, permitting, performance bonding, and reporting, without discrimination in favor of—

(1) the public provider; or

(2) any other provider of telecommunications service or advanced telecommunications capability or services that the public provider owns or with which the public provider is affiliated.

There’s also language that promotes public-private partnership.

Minnesota has legislation that hinders public networks so we have a real interest here is seeing how this goes. I think the passing of decision making from State to Federal to Local may be a bigger issue in the eyes of many than the broadband twist.

This entry was posted in Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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