FCC to ecide on state powers over the internet

02 Feb 2015


Federal regulators are pushing ahead with a proposal to help two cities fighting with their state governments over setting up alternatives to large internet providers, dallasnews.com reported

This week the Federal Communications Commission will start considering a draft decision for intervention against state laws in Tennessee and North Carolina that limited internet access operated and sold by cities, according to a senior FCC official. The draft could be circulated by FCC chairman Tom Wheeler to his fellow commissioners as early as Monday, and the decision would be put to vote at the FCC's public meeting on 26 Febuary.

In the event of approval, the FCC would find that the states had erected barriers to the timely and reasonable deployment of high-speed internet access in some parts of Tennessee and North Carolina.

It would also effectively knock down the state laws that, according to cities, came in the way of the cities building viable competitors to service poviders like Comcast and Verizon.

The draft decision targeted legal hurdles that made it more difficult for city- or community-run internet services to get off the ground.

For instance Tennessee had passed rules that prohibited cities from setting up high-capacity networks beyond a certain geographic area.

Meanwhile, senator Patrick Leahy,  ranking member, Senate Judiciary Committee On the Federal Communications Commission's Steps To Speed Internet Delivery For Rural Consumers said in a news release: ''The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday approved a new definition for what constitutes broadband service, dramatically increasing the required minimum speeds from the current standard and marking an important improvement for rural states to access high-speed Internet.''

''Today, the FCC voted to recognize what millions of Americans living in rural areas have long realized – that minimum Internet speeds for rural consumers need to be faster. The FCC's action today has the potential to dramatically boost deployment of high-speed Internet access to underserved areas like Vermont.

According to the FCC's own data, 53 per cent of rural consumers lack access to the new speed standard set today while only 8 percent lack access to the same speed in urban areas. This stunning broadband divide must be closed or we will leave millions of Americans behind online.

Access to the Internet is one of the keys to our global economic competitiveness. The FCC's action today is an important step in ensuring that all Americans, regardless of where they live, have meaningful access to this critical resource.''

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