FCC can knock out state laws that limit broadband, Wheeler warns

Liking the sounds the FCC chairman is making. Sounds like he’s fighting for the people.


FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler repeated an earlier pledge to take a hard look at state laws that prevent municipalities from building broadband internet networks, telling members of Congress in a letter that the federal government has the power to trump such laws.

“[M]any states have enacted laws that place a range of restrictions on communities’ ability to invest in their own future. There is reason to believe that these laws have  the effect of limiting competition in those areas,” Wheeler wrote in response to a letter from Sen. Edmund Markey (D-Ma) and Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa).

Wheeler’s salvo, which repeatedly invokes the federal preemption power, is likely to fuel the political fight between cities like Chattanooga, Tennessee, which built a high-speed network known as “Gig City,” and big telecom companies that want to put a stop to such projects.

So far, the telecom industry has been getting the upper hand by persuading state legislators to pass laws…

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