[Ed. – WaPo obediently reports this as the FCC proposing to lift a “limit” imposed on cities by Tennessee and North Carolina. The truth, of course, is that getting cities in the ISP game will help establish government control overall, and drive out private competition. Verizon will fight vigorously to prevent onerous FCC regulation that transforms your Internet access in evil ways. Chattanooga, TN won’t.]
Federal regulators are moving ahead with a proposal to help two cities fighting with their state governments over the ability to build public alternatives to large Internet providers.
The Federal Communications Commission this week will begin considering a draft decision to intervene against state laws in Tennessee and North Carolina that limit Internet access operated and sold by cities, according to a senior FCC official. The agency’s chairman, Tom Wheeler, could circulate the draft to his fellow commissioners as early as Monday and the decision will be voted on in the FCC’s public meeting on Feb. 26.
If approved, the FCC would find that the states have erected barriers to the timely and reasonable deployment of high-speed Internet access in Chattanooga, Tenn. and Wilson, N.C. It would effectively knock down the state laws that the cities say inhibit them from building viable competitors to the likes of Comcast and Verizon. …
Roughly 20 states have such limits on the books. Overturning the ones in Tennessee and North Carolina would mark the opening of a wider battle over municipal broadband by the federal government. Although any FCC decision in February would be narrowly tailored to the two cities, the legal theory underpinning the proposed action would likely be used to answer similar petitions in the future involving other states.