The Electric Power Board of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the City of Wilson, North Carolina have filed separate petitions asking that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) act pursuant to Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to preempt portions of Tennessee and North Carolina state statutes that restrict their ability to provide broadband services. Both petitioners allege that state laws restrict their ability to expand their broadband service offerings to surrounding areas where customers have expressed interest in these services, and they request that the Commission preempt such laws. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler recently published a blog post about removing barriers to competitive community broadband in which he noted that, given the opportunity to exercise its power to preempt state laws that ban or restrict competition from community broadband, the Commission would do so. Comments on the petitions are due August 29, 2014 and replies are due September 29, 2014.
For additional information, please contact Erin Fitzgerald.