FCC Commissioner Clyburn Mignon has released a statement opposing "Anti-Municipal Broadband Legislation" [pdf], especially singling out the Time Warner Cable bill to kill community broadband in North Carolina.
STATEMENT BY FCC COMMISSIONER MIGNON L. CLYBURN ON PROPOSED ANTI-MUNICIPAL BROADBAND LEGISLATION
I have serious concerns that as the Federal Communications Commission continues to address broadband deployment barriers outlined in the National Broadband Plan, new obstacles are being erected that are directly contrary to the Plan’s recommendations and goals.
I recently learned that several state legislatures are considering bills that are contrary to the deployment objectives of the Broadband Plan. For example, in North Carolina, the state legislature is currently evaluating legislation entitled ‘Level Playing Field/Local Government Competition.’ Last week the North Carolina House passed the bill, and it currently awaits consideration in the Senate. This piece of legislation certainly sounds goal-worthy, an innocuous proposition, but do not let the title fool you. This measure, if enacted, will not only fail to level the playing field; it will discourage municipal governments from addressing deployment in communities where the private sector has failed to meet broadband service needs. In other words, it will be a significant barrier to broadband deployment and may impede local efforts to promote economic development.
The National Broadband Plan recommended that Congress clarify that State, regional, and local governments should not be restricted from building their own broadband networks. When providers cannot meet the needs of local communities, the Plan provides that State, regional, and local entities should be able to respond accordingly, as they were able to do when municipal governments distributed electricity to thousands of rural communities during the 20th Century. Unfortunately, this National Broadband Plan recommendation continues to be ignored by some broadband industry members that are encouraging these misguided efforts.
Not long after the National Broadband Plan was issued, I had the privilege to visit North Carolina and speak about the goals in the Plan, and the importance of our...