42 Next Century City Mayors & Leaders Speak up for Local Internet Choice

In a show of deep support, more than forty Mayors and community leaders today sent a letter to the mayors of Chattanooga, TN and Wilson, NC expressing their support and solidarity with those communities’ efforts to expand their successful community broadband networks to unserved areas. The signatories to the letter are all members of Next Century Cities.

The letter expresses concern regarding the recent Sixth Circuit Court decision and the larger implications for communities of all sizes gaining access to critical broadband infrastructure:

“We are concerned about the detrimental impact overturning the Federal Communication Commission’s 2015 ruling will have on community members’ ability to access fast, affordable broadband internet access, and how it will prevent the expansion of your cities’ broadband networks to neighboring underserved communities, as well as what it could mean in communities nationwide…

“We oppose restrictive state broadband barriers that limit the capacity of local communities to thrive, like those that hinder expansion in Tennessee and North Carolina, and similar burdensome and unnecessary state laws that many of us struggle with as well…”

The letter notes that the Sixth Circuit decision was based on a narrow issue of FCC authority and that the decision spoke approvingly of the benefits of community broadband initiatives: “Notably, in their narrow legal decision on a statute, the Sixth Circuit judges acknowledged the public benefits and commercial success of your communities’ networks.”

CLIC commends these community leaders and Next Century Cities on this effort. We stand with them and all voices in the cause of local Internet choice. As the letter so clearly states, “We believe in aligning broadband options with community needs, instead of being hindered by restrictive, one-size-fits-all barriers…”