Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Support the Municipal Broadband Act

From Credo Action:

Cities and towns around the country are developing municipal broadband networks that are both faster and less expensive than the services offered by big cable and Internet companies. But local governments in 19 states don’t have that option due to anti-consumer state laws that ban or restrict municipal broadband.1 These state laws are a cynical attempt to preserve the profits of big cable companies – and now we have an opportunity to overturn all of them at once.

Senators Cory Booker and Claire McCaskill have introduced the Community Broadband Act, which would preempt these state laws and allow municipalities to compete directly with big cable companies by offering their own broadband service.2 We need to show grassroots support for this vital bill now and fight for the fast, affordable Internet access all Americans deserve.

According to recent surveys, nearly a quarter of Americans don’t have broadband Internet access at home.3 Passing the Community Broadband Act would allow cities and municipalities to provide fast Internet access to millions of Americans who don’t have it, and help create less expensive and faster Internet access options for tens of millions of others. In January, the White House announced its support of municipal broadband and released a report saying it wants to "end laws that harm broadband service competition.” The Obama administration also took modest steps to make loans available to rural broadband carriers, which will help provide access to some Americans.4 But President Obama can’t overturn the 19 state laws blocking or limiting municipal broadband – so we need to pressure Congress to act.

Earlier this year, nearly 200,000 CREDO activists signed our petition urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to overturn the 19 state laws that block municipal broadband. In late February, the FCC had an opportunity to do just that when it took up the case of two municipalities that sought to overturn laws in their states that prevented them from expanding their municipal broadband networks to neighboring communities.We had hoped the FCC would use this opportunity to block all state laws limiting or banning municipal broadband, but it took a narrower approach and simply preempted the two state laws in question.5 To be clear, the FCC did the right thing for protecting and expanding access to broadband Internet, it just didn’t go far enough.
That’s why we need to build grassroots pressure on Congress to step in and protect our access to fast and affordable broadband Internet.

Thanks for fighting for municipal broadband.
Josh Nelson, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

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