Web companies give support to government-run Internet

Major Internet companies are urging the federal government to consider blocking state laws that ban cities from building out their own Internet networks.

In a filing with the Federal Communications Commission on Friday, The Internet Association refrained from an explicit call for the agency to strike down laws in two states, but said that the FCC was in the right to at least examine the laws and see if they inhibit competition.


The FCC “should use the full weight of its authority to prevent any private or public entity from inhibiting the deployment of broadband networks or standing in the way of increased competition in providing those services,” wrote the group, which includes Google, Yahoo, Netflix and other industry titans. 

“The commission is right to carefully examine state laws adopted to prevent a local government from creating a high speed broadband service, especially in municipalities that are underserved,” it added. “As stated above, in conducting its assessment, the commission should carefully examine not only whether these state laws are standing in the way of deployment of broadband into new areas, but whether they are impeding the deployment of truly advanced services.”

The FCC is currently considering striking down state laws in Tennessee and North Carolina that ban cities from expanding their own government-run broadband Internet networks, after towns in those two states requested federal action this summer. 

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has said the agency has the authority to strike down state laws if they restrain competition. Republicans in Congress have warned the agency against the move, however, which could lead to swift rebuke if the FCC decides to go ahead with the action.