You can continue filing comments in the FCC Wilson (14-115) and Chattanooga (14-116) proceedings! Until the Commission closes its “Sunshine Period,” the public can continue to file comments as long as they are marked “Ex-Parte” on the document. See our instructions on how to do this for quick “Express” comments or for longer “Expert” comments here. You can write about your personal broadband need story, a statement of support for the Wilson and Chattanooga Petitions, or respond to some of the Comments or Reply Comments posted here (by typing next to the prompt for “Proceeding” the number 14-115 for Wilson or 14-116 for Chattanooga.) All the submissions pop up for your reading pleasure. A sample format, if you are using the format of a letter for your Ex-Parte comments, can be found here.Tweet
We encourage CLIC members to get involved. Take five minutes and file an “Express” comment at the FCC website here for proceedings 14-115 (Wilson) and 14-116 (Chattanooga EPB), with your personal broadband need story or just a statement of support for the Wilson and Chattanooga Petitions, found here. You also can file longer support documents through “Expert” reply comments. Click here for How To File Reply Comments.
If you miss Monday’s midnight deadline, you can file “ex-parte” comments until the Commission closes the sunshine period. More on this next week.
On September 18, 2014, Chris Libertelli officially joined CLIC’s Board of Advisors. Mr. Libertelli has been Vice President of Global Public Policy at Netflix since December 2011. During his time at Netflix, he has been a champion for a variety of internet policy issues including efforts to increase competition among internet providers. Prior to joining Netflix, Mr. Libertelli managed Skype’s government relations programs in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America.
Netflix has been a strong and consistent supporter of local internet choice. Click here to read the comments Netflix submitted to the FCC in support of Wilson, NC and Chattanooga EPB’s petitions.
CLIC extends a warm welcome to Mr. Libertelli. We look forward to the outstanding contributions he will bring to our Board.Tweet
The Internet Association represents the interests of America’s leading Internet companies and their global community of users, including: Airbnb, Amazon, AOL, eBay, Expedia, Facebook, Gilt, Google, IAC, LinkedIn, Lyft, Monster Worldwide, Netflix, Practice Fusion, Rackspace, reddit, Salesforce.com, SurveyMonkey, TripAdvisor, Twitter, Uber Technologies, Inc., Yelp, Yahoo!, and Zynga. On Friday, this noteworthy association filed comments in support of the Wilson, NC and Chattanooga petitions requesting the FCC to preempt their state laws which inhibit the deployment of broadband networks.
The Internet Association called on the agency to implement pro-consumer policies to bring faster and better broadband service to all Americans, promote competition and choice in the broadband market, and protect an open Internet:
“The Internet is an indispensable tool that is necessary to stay competitive globally, and the Commission has a mandate to ensure the deployment of advanced broadband services nationwide,” said Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of The Internet Association. “Access to high speed Internet service is not a luxury in today’s economy. It is a necessity. Policymakers must encourage broadband abundance and ensure high speed Internet service is deployed everywhere.”
“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. 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.”
Get involved. File your Reply comments by September 29, 2014, under “Submit a Filing” or “Submit a Filing (Express)” found here. The dockets are 14-115 (Wilson) and 14-116 (Chattanooga).
Once again, CLIC thanks FCC Chairman Wheeler for his recognition of the importance of local Internet choice embedded in two separate letters responding to Congressmen who wrote him on the issue of FCC preemption of state anti-competitive broadband laws.
On July 22, 2014, Chairman Wheeler responded to various questions posed in a letter dated June 12, 2014, from Rep. Blackburn (R-TN) and other House Republicans asking why he would preempt anticompetitive state broadband laws. He began by recognizing the critical importance of local Internet choice and FCC’s obligations under the Communications Act:
“…Around the country, communities have focused on the importance of ensuring that their citizens receive the benefits of broadband, and some have concluded that investing in their own broadband efforts — or authorizing others to invest in their behalf — will provide more competition and the economic and social benefits that accompany competition for their residents and businesses. Section 706 of the Communications Act charges the Federal Communications Commission with ensuring that broadband is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion. I believe that competition is a strong means to that critical goal.”
Again on August 11, the Chairman responded to a bi-cameral letter of June 27, 2014, from Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce committee, and other House and Senate Democrats. Chairman Wheeler emphasized that he was “heartened” by their “support for community broadband” and their “recognition of the vital importance of robust broadband to our country as a whole, and to smaller communities in particular.” He noted how “some [communities] have concluded that investing in their own broadband effort will provide more competition,” “economic” and “social benefits,” and yet “many states have enacted laws that place a range of restrictions on communities’ ability to invest in their own future.” While recognizing “the important role of state governments in our federal system,” he noted that “state laws that directly conflict with critical federal laws and policy may be subject to preemption in appropriate circumstances.”
Throughout both letters, Chairman Wheeler made it clear that such issues are not to be “taken lightly” but warrant “careful consideration of all relevant and policy issues.” He pledged that there would be an “open proceeding” to ensure “the fullest opportunity for comment” and evaluation of “all relevant factual, policy and legal issues.”
CLIC encourages the public to file such comments in this critical proceeding, and provided sample comments and instructions on how to file at the FCC HERE. Comments are due August 29, Reply Comments on September 29.Tweet
Statement by CLIC CEO, Joanne Hovis
On July 24, 2014, the City of Wilson, NC and the Electric Power Board in Chattanooga, TN petitioned the FCC with requests to remove the legislative barriers to broadband investment and competition in their states. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has courageously gone on the record supporting all options that catalyze broadband competition including removing state barriers to community-owned networks. This is an historical time for our country, and the window of this opportunity is open now.
We need you to get involved. We need you to file comments at the FCC. Having access to reliable modern internet service is as important as having electricity 100 years ago. The FCC needs to hear from local communities, businesses, citizens, students, children, seniors and veterans on why your local communities need to be unharnessed from the artificial strait jackets of these state laws, so that our communities can act in the best interest of their local businesses and residents, to take whatever actions are needed based on local resources so that we all have access to 21st century broadband infrastructure.
If your community has developed an advanced broadband network or entered into a public-private partnership to acquire such a network, we hope that you will share with the FCC how your community, your business, family members, veterans, children, grandparents, teachers, and others have benefited because your community was not limited by a state barrier to public investment or competition. If your community is subject to such a barrier, please tell the FCC, in as much detail as possible, how this has held back your businesses, institutions, and residents.
If you are an individual, you might prefer to use the on-line FCC “EXPRESS” file form, found with instructions we have created on how to file and where to find the form here.
For those with longer comments, use the FCC’s “EXPERT” form. We have posted sample comments here to help stimulate your thoughts and for you to customize with your local stories and insights. Filing instructions on how to use, and where to find the EXPERT form is on page 3 here.
Comments are due August 29th. Reply comments are due September 29.
Petitions can be found at the following links:Tweet
Statement by CLIC’s CEO – Joanne Hovis
CLIC has learned that the Gigabit cities of Wilson, NC and Chattanooga, TN petitioned the FCC today to remove barriers to broadband investment and competition posed by certain provisions of Tennessee and North Carolina laws. The petitions argue that these laws were sponsored by incumbents to limit the threat of competition and have created unnecessary barriers that prevent Chattanooga and Wilson from providing their world-class gigabit Internet services to nearby areas.
The net effect is to stifle competition, harm public and private sector economic development, and extinguish associated quality of life improvements in education, health care, energy use and public safety. Nearby communities that desperately want services from these networks are prevented from receiving it. Wilson and Chattanooga have asked the FCC to step in using its authority to promote advanced telecommunications capability to all Americans and preempt these state laws; to let local choice prevail.
Because the power of incumbent providers is so great in each state legislature, there is little hope for a remedy at the state level. These petitions are part of a larger discussion at the national level, whether the promise of modern Internet access will be for ALL Americans, or only for some.
More importantly, if a community wants to partner with a local ISP or build its own network to supply services that are needed in the community, should it have the authority to make that decision itself or should incumbents be able to circumvent it with anti-competitive state laws that work in contravention to local needs and choice? We side with Wilson and Chattanooga and believe these decisions should be made locally. Fortunately, FCC Chairman Wheeler also agrees with us.
We look forward to a robust discussion and the airing of these issues, and we encourage our members to participate in the unfolding rulemaking. This issue should be of interest to every business and resident that cares about our economy, educational opportunities, and our ability to engage in public discourse as citizens of a republic.
CLIC learned late yesterday that Rep. Blackburn (R-TN) plans to propose an amendment on July 15 to House Appropriation bill HR 5016, that would preclude the FCC from using any of its funding to preempt state laws that prohibit communities from building broadband systems.
In a letter, CLIC’s CEO reminded the House of Representatives how Congress has long recognized that ensuring that all Americans have reasonable and timely access to advanced telecommunications capabilities, particularly in rural and other high-cost areas, is “the great infrastructure challenge of our time.” CLIC calls on Congress to let communities decide their broadband futures for themselves, and to oppose this attempt to end such local internet choice.
“Our members believe that communities should be free to decide to work with willing incumbents, enter into public-private partnerships, develop their own networks, if necessary, or do whatever else may work for their citizens, businesses, and institutions.”
“At this critical time in our country’s history, we should not preclude or inhibit any potentially successful strategy that will enable our communities and America as a whole to thrive in the emerging knowledge-based global economy. Nor can we afford to take off the table any approach that may be necessary in certain cases to remove barriers to broadband investment and competition.”
Read the letter HERE.Tweet
On Friday, July 3, 2014, the National League of Cities (NLC), the National Association of Counties (NACO) and the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) commended FCC Chairman Wheeler’s commitment to local internet choice, and emphasized their support for his efforts to remove barriers to municipal broadband networks:
“We write today to support your efforts to eliminate barriers to municipal broadband networks and ensure that our local communities have options to address their broadband needs.”
Underscoring to Chairman Wheeler that internet choice at the local level has never been more imperative, the Executive Directors describe how cities and counties are intimately involved in the public safety, healthcare, education, infrastructure and employment needs of their diverse citizens on a daily basis, and how having their hand on this local pulse has created “innovative partnerships,” including with private sector companies, to meet these diverse local needs.
“As such, Local governments should have the flexibility to address broadband and internet access in a way that meets the needs of the people they serve….local creativity and local authority is a viable means by which new next-generation broadband infrastructure can emerge.”
The Associations praised Chairman Wheeler for his leadership, and efforts to ensure that no entity is held back from our country’s efforts to build 21st Century broadband infrastructure:
“…our groups stand ready to assist in your efforts as you move forward with eliminating barriers to municipal broadband networks.”
The full text of the letter can be found here.Tweet
Citing the need to sustain our country’s global economic competitiveness, U.S. Senators Edward J. Markey, Al Franken, Amy Klobuchar, Richard Blumenthal, and Cory A. Booker, and U.S. Representatives Mike Doyle, Henry A. Waxman and Anna G. Eshoo called on FCC Chairman Wheeler in a June 27 letter to “progress” on community broadband by unleashing all options that will build a 21st century broadband infrastructure catalyzed by competition. The key: letting communities decide for themselves the best route to building this infrastructure:
“….The importance of broadband communications networks to America’s economic development has never been more apparent. In our interconnected 21st century economy, job growth will depend on our ability to deliver faster and more reliable broadband to our businesses, our schools and our homes. Accordingly, local communities should have the opportunity to decide for themselves how to invest in their own infrastructure, including the options of working with willing incumbent carriers, creating incentives for private sector development, entering into creative public-private partnerships, or even building their own networks, if necessary or appropriate.”
The legislators reminded Chairman Wheeler of the intent of Telecommunications Act of 1996 –to eliminate barriers to entry into the broadband market and to promote competition, innovation and consumer choice — and encouraged the Chairman to “utilize the full arsenal of tools” that Congress enacted to promote competitive broadband service. Specifically asking the Chairman what plans the Commission intends to pursue to make progress on community broadband, the signatories emphasized how “[o]ur nation cannot afford to fall behind or to close off viable options for its communities, especially those in underserved rural areas, to connect and prosper.”
The full text of this bicameral letter can be found here.Tweet