A Storm of Support for Local Internet Choice

CLIC Thunderclap Tweet

Yesterday, at noon ET, over 150 organizations, individuals and companies who supported local internet choice participated in our Thunderclap, a digital flashmob. They each donated their social status (on Twitter and Facebook) to say, with one voice, that communities matter and should be able to choose their own broadband destiny.

Thanks to everyone who supported!

Also, responding to FCC Chairman Wheeler’s continued support of communities’ roles in bringing better broadband to their residents, groups around the country had this to say:

Baller, Herbst, Stokes & Lide

We are grateful to Chairman Wheeler for recognizing the critical role that local communities can play in restoring America’s global leadership in advanced communications capabilities and for his relentless efforts to preserve and protect local Internet choice.  We look forward to the Commission’s vote on February 26 and will comment in greater detail after the Commission has released its decision.

Coalition for Local Internet Choice

CLIC applauds Chairman Wheeler for his leadership and recognition that local communities play an integral role in ensuring broadband competition for their residents. This is a big step forward and just the beginning — we look forward to working with the Chairman, the rest of the Commission and other stakeholders to remove barriers to better broadband around the country.

CTC Energy & Technology

In our view and experience, these statutes are frequently written or lobbied by incumbent phone and cable companies, and amount to pure protectionism for monopolists and duopolists who prefer not to face competition.

CTC commends Chairman Wheeler for his insight that local broadband initiatives are essential to enable the deployment of advanced communications capabilities to all Americans. And we commend the City of Wilson, North Carolina and the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga, TN for their courage and perseverance in bringing these issues before the FCC.

Deb Socia, Executive Director of Next Century Cities

“We welcome reports that Chairman Wheeler is taking the concerns of cities and their leaders seriously when it comes to local choice. We look forward to seeing the details, but any move to expand choices for towns and cities is good for innovation, competition, and for the country.”

“If we want truly next-generation broadband, then cities across the country need to be in the driver’s seat. That’s why they are looking to the FCC to uphold their ability to make the best choices for their communities and residents.”

“Just last week, mayors and elected officials from 38 of our member communities wrote urging the FCC to respect the principles of local choice and self-determination. We applaud the Chairman on his response, and this draft decision is a key step forward.”

Colorado Communications and Utility Alliance

The Colorado Communications and Utility Alliance (CCUA) applauds Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler for moving forward with efforts to support local decision-making to bring people the broadband services that are an essential part of life today. Chairman Wheeler clearly respects the authority of local governments to make broadband network investments in order to provide for people in their jurisdictions.

“Eliminating the artificial barriers to competition that exist in many states will greatly improve the likelihood that people will have local choice as well as options for fast and affordable internet access,” says CCUA President Todd Barnes. We stand with Chairman Wheeler’s efforts to promote broadband deployment.  CCUA is excited about the Chairman’s upcoming visit to Colorado and we hope he will share more of his thoughts about these issues while he is here.”

On February 9, 2015, Wheeler will be in Boulder to give the closing address at the Silicon Flatirons Center at the University of Colorado program on The Digital Broadband Migration: First Principles for a Twenty First Century Innovation.

Later this month, the FCC may formally act on petitions from Wilson, NC and Chattanooga, TN, seeking to preempt state laws that create barriers to localities providing broadband options to residents and businesses.  Colorado has its own set of statutory barriers that could eventually be impacted if the FCC continues to move forward addressing other state imposed barriers to local competition.

Statement of FTTH Council President Heather Burnett Gold

The FTTH Council has always believed that communities need to be active participants in bringing fiber to the home to their residents. Only investment in this future-proof technology will ensure that communities remain part  of the global economy and that its citizens will have access to the best resources available in education, medicine and engagement. We applaud the Chairman’s decision to provide communities and private companies with additional mechanisms for speeding the deployment of this essential infrastructure.

Statement of Public Knowledge Communications Manager Shiva Stella

“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. Chairman Wheeler has taken an important first step by advancing these two petitions forward.

“Both Chattanooga, Tennessee and Wilson, North Carolina have gigabit broadband systems they would happily expand to other portions of their community — were it not for state laws drafted by industry lobbyists in the days before people realized how important access to affordable broadband would become. We hope that the other Commissioners will join with Chairman Wheeler to approve these petitions to give the residents of Chattanooga and Wilson real choices for affordable, high speed broadband.”

Amina Fazlullah, Director of Policy for the Benton Foundation

“The Benton Foundation is gladdened by news that the Federal Communications Commission will restore local choice for broadband. In too many states, limitations on community broadband have restricted local efforts to create jobs, raise property values, and provide other economic benefits. When community leaders believe they must act to improve local broadband networks, they should have the power to craft local solutions – even if that means a community providing its own broadband if it decides that is its best option. Benton applauds the leadership of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler who, on numerous occasions over the past year, has recognized and acted upon the importance of competition in the broadband marketplace.”

US Senator Cory Booker

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) issued the following statement in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s proposal to approve petitions that would remove barriers to the deployment of community broadband:

“I applaud the FCC’s proposal to preserve the rights of communities trying to make important broadband investments. 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. Sadly, some states have enacted laws that bar cities from connecting their communities. 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. This FCC action is an important step forward as America seeks to leverage its strengths in the digital age.”

Recognizing that municipal broadband can serve as a practical and affordable option to cities, Sen. Booker introduced the Community Broadband Act in January 2015, which would prevent states from enacting laws that ban or significantly hinder communities from making broadband investments. More information on the legislation can be found here.

The Senator further outlined his case for expanding municipal broadband in an op-ed featured in The Record. The full text of Sen. Booker’s op-ed is available here.

Georgia Municipal Association

The Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) applauds FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s leadership and his recognition that local governments play an integral role in ensuring broadband competition for their residents.   Access to high speed, broadband internet is important for education, our economy and healthcare, as more and more hospitals are using the internet for remote consultations and procedures. While private telecommunication companies have the business goal of making a profit for shareholders, the public sector sees broadband internet as key to ensuring businesses in their communities can prosper. Prohibiting government from providing this economic development infrastructure, or limiting its ability to do so, is counter to the wishes of the community and to the best interest of cities, states and our nation.   We thank Chairman Wheeler for his stance on this issue on behalf of Georgia’s 537 cities.