FCC will not appeal ruling against municipal broadband move

FCC will not appeal ruling against municipal broadband move
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The Federal Communications Commission will not appeal a ruling striking down its move to stop states from blocking the expansion of broadband service offered by local governments.

“The FCC will not seek further review of the Sixth Circuit's decision on municipal broadband after determining that doing so would not be the best use of Commission resources,” said Mark Wigfield, an agency spokesman, in a statement that was first published by The New York Times.

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Last year, the FCC voted to preempt state laws blocking the geographic expansion of broadband internet service offered by cities in North Carolina and Tennessee on the grounds that it was required to take steps to promote competition for the service.

The states filed a lawsuit against the action. Large, private internet service providers are also wary of the expansion of municipal broadband.

A three judge panel on the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said earlier this month that the commission hadn't provided a “a clear statement in the authorizing federal legislation” to justify its move. The FCC is opting not to ask the full court to re-hear the case or take its arguments to the Supreme Court.

With the FCC's announcement, the debate now shifts to the state level — where Wheeler has indicated he is willing to engage.

“Should states seek to repeal their anti-competitive broadband statutes, I will be happy to testify on behalf of better broadband and consumer choice,” he said in a statement after the ruling. “Should states seek to limit the right of people to act for better broadband, I will be happy to testify on behalf of consumer choice.”