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.