In an effort to “preserve and protect the ability of local governments to provide broadband capability and services,” Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.), Ranking Member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, today introduced the Community Broadband Act of 2016 in the U.S. House of Representatives. The text of the bill can be found here.
The bill prohibits the states from preventing public entities “from providing to any person or any public or private entity advanced telecommunications capacity or any service that utilizes the advanced telecommunications capacity by such provider.” The bill also includes anti-discrimination safeguards that would ensure that any public provider who regulated competing private providers of advanced telecommunications capabilities or services applies its ordinances and rules without discriminating.
“I’m disappointed that a recent court ruling blocked the FCC’s efforts to allow local communities to decide for themselves how best to ensure that their residents have broadband access,” Eshoo said. “This legislation clears the way for local communities to make their own decisions instead of powerful special interests in state capitals.”
“Rather than restricting local communities in need of broadband, we should be empowering them to make the decisions they determine are in the best interests of their constituents. Too many Americans still lack access to quality, affordable broadband and community broadband projects are an important way to bring this critical service to more citizens.”
Congresswoman Eshoo also introduced the bi-partisan “Dig Once” broadband deployment bill in October of 2015 and noted that the nation’s “information highways are just as important as our interstate highways.” She has long advocated for federal legislation that would increase broadband deployment and universal access to broadband.
CLIC applauds Congresswoman Eshoo for her efforts to protect local Internet choice and the options of all local communities to deploy critical broadband infrastructure.