City-funded broadband just lost a big fight in court



Some city-funded broadband networks may be in trouble after a U.S. appeals court struck down Federal Communications Commission rules that prohibited states from restricting those projects.

The FCC has no authority from Congress to prohibit state laws that limit municipal funding of broadband networks, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit said in a decision released Wednesday.

In February 2015, the FCC voted to overturn laws in North Carolina and Tennessee that limited the expansion of existing municipal broadband networks. Many incumbent broadband providers have opposed municipal funding of competing networks and pushed for state laws prohibiting them. In some cases, those city networks are faster and cheaper than what the incumbents are selling.

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