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Protect Municipal High-speed Internet Networks

FCC's New National Broadband Plan: Implications for State Policy

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this week unveiled the long-awaited plan with a vast array of information and recommendations to address these problems, as well as approaches to maximize the economic and social gains from broadband adoption.

Networking the Green Economy: How Broadband and Related Technologies Can Build a Green Economic Future

Deploying broadband and related communication technologies, including smart meters in the home and smart grids to upgrade our power grid, have the potential of revolutionizing energy management and economic development, according to a new report by the Progressive States Network released in association with our partners, Communications Workers of America, the Sierra Club and the Blue Green Alliance. Last Thursday, leaders from those organizations convened at a panel on Capitol Hill, hosted by U.S. Representative Edward Markey, Chairman of the U.S. House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, and joined by Nick Sinai, Director of Energy and Environment for the FCC's Broadband Strategy Plan, to discuss the findings of the report entitled Networking the Green Economy

Overview

Wireless and wired technologies allow municipalities to offer a means to bridge the digital divide. Communities are now building their own wired and/or wireless “Community Internet” systems, using fiber optic cables or unlicensed space on the public airways to provide dependable high-speed Internet connections to homes all across America.

Municipalities seeking to provide affordable high-speed Internet to their residents have had to deal with special interest legislation at the state level designed to shut down municipal networks. In an effort to stifle competition and protect their profits, service providers are pushing bills in state legislatures that would prohibit communities from setting up high-speed Internet networks, prevent competition and undercut local control--even in rural and low-income areas not currently served by large providers. More than a dozen states now have laws on the books restricting cities and towns from building their own high-speed Internet networks.