FCC Gets It Right On Community Broadband

In Another Win for the Internet, FCC Helps Remove Barriers to Smart Local Investment
Press Release
Feb. 26, 2015

Washington, DC — On an historic day at the Federal Communications Commission, the agency preempted laws in North Carolina and Tennessee that restrict the ability of communities to provide broadband service to their residents. The action came in response to petitions filed last year by community broadband providers in Chattanooga, Tenn., and Wilson, N.C., arguing that the state laws conflicted with the FCC’s mandate to promote broadband deployment throughout the United States.

The following statement can be attributed to Joshua Stager, Policy Counsel for New America’s Open Technology Institute:

“Today is a turning point in the debate over broadband investment in our towns and cities. The Commission's decision to remove barriers in Chattanooga and Wilson is a victory for consumer choice, market competition, and local self-determination. These regulatory barriers limit consumer choice in places that need more broadband competition, not less.

"Cities can’t compete in a global economy without robust broadband infrastructure. Local government can play a critical role in network development, particularly in areas where incumbent providers are not meeting local needs. Indeed, our research has consistently found that some of the fastest and most affordable broadband in America comes from community networks. All localities should be free to make these kinds of smart investments in their own infrastructure.

"We applaud the FCC's efforts to promote community broadband. Today's action, coupled with the historic net neutrality rules approved at the same meeting, are a major step forward for American broadband policy. Every community needs access to world-class networks, and we look forward to working with policymakers in their efforts to achieve this goal.”

The Open Technology Institute (OTI) has conducted extensive research on community broadband networks. OTI's broadband affordability studies in 2013 and 2014 found that community networks were among the best services in America. In May, OTI and CTC Energy & Technology co-published a detailed primer on community broadband options.

Expert Contact

Joshua Stager
Policy Counsel, Open Technology Institute


For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Jenny Mallamo, Media Relations Associate, at (202) 596-3368 or mallamo@newamerica.org.

About New America

New America is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute that invests in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States. To learn more, please visit us online at www.newamerica.org or follow us on Twitter @NewAmerica.

About the Open Technology Institute

The Open Technology Institute (OTI) is a global pioneer in developing innovative communications technologies and policies to enable communities to fully participate in the global economy, and freely shape their democracies. To learn more, please visit us online at http://oti.newamerica.org and on Twitter @OTI.