Booker cheers move against Web ‘special interests’

Sen. Cory Booker is cheering news that federal regulators will bar two states from enforcing laws to prevent communities from building out their own broadband Internet services.

While Republicans are likely to balk at the move from the head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the New Jersey Democrat has nothing but praise.

{mosads}“I’m pleased the FCC is standing up for the rights of municipalities over special interests that may not find it profitable to invest in low-income and rural areas,” he said in a statement on Monday, hours FCC officials confirmed the upcoming action. “This FCC action is an important step forward as America seeks to leverage its strengths in the digital age.”

This week, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will encourage his four other commissioners to vote in favor of a decision to preempt state laws in Tennessee and North Carolina limiting the growth of city-owned Internet services. FCC officials say that the agency’s ability to remove barriers to broadband growth allow it to preempt state laws.

Booker has been one of the loudest supporters of the action from Capitol Hill, and has introduced legislation to prevent laws from limiting the growth of municipal Web services.

“As mayor of Newark, I saw how cities are often in the best position to innovate and find solutions to the specific challenges facing their residents,” he said. “Sadly, some states have enacted laws that bar cities from connecting their communities.”

Booker and other advocates of municipal broadband networks have said that they provide valuable competition in areas where one company’s services dominate.

“Every community should have the right to determine its broadband needs and the path of its digital future, including the ability to pick competition over monopoly for broadband services,” echoed Shiva Stella, a spokeswoman for advocacy group Public Knowledge.

Tags Cory Booker Federal Communications Commission Municipal broadband Public Knowledge

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