CLIC Sets Muni Broadband Protection Event

Wheeler to Speak at Broadband Communities Conference

WASHINGTON -- The Coalition for Local Internet Choice (CLIC) will host a day-long session April 13 to talk about protecting local authority over broadband buildouts.

The event, dubbed CLIC Day, is part of the Broadband Communities Conference in Austin, Tex., and comes in the wake of the Federal Communications Commission's decision to pre-empt state laws limiting municipal broadband buildouts in Chattanooga and Wilson, N.C..

On Feb. 26, the FCC voted 3-2, along party lines, to pre-empt laws in those states that limit expansion of municipal broadband, citing its authority under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act to insure advance telecommunications services are being deployed in a reasonable and timely manner.

Cable operators strongly opposed that pre-emption.

The day after the CLIC Day event, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler is scheduled to speak to the Broadband Communities Conference. Wheeler early on signaled his support for pre-emption and his view that state laws to limit broadband buildouts were the handiwork of incumbent Internet-service providers trying to protect their turf.

The FCC’s Feb 26. decision only applied to Chattanooga and Wilson and only to laws limiting, rather than precluding, broadband buildouts. But Wheeler suggested that similar laws in other states would get similar treatment from the FCC.