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Representative Eshoo Introduces Bill to preempt State Municipal Broadband Bans

September 16, 2016 By Molly White in

This week, Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA) introduced the Community Broadband Act of 2016 which would amend the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to “preserve and protect the ability of local governments to provide broadband capability and services.” This bill follows a decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit that overturned an FCC order preempting two states’ laws restricting municipal broadband networks. Representative Eshoo’s bill is modelled after the Community Broadband Act of 2015 introduced by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ed Markey (D-MA) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO). The bill provides that “no State statute, regulation, or other State legal requirement may prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting any public provider from providing, to any person or any public or private entity, advanced telecommunications capability,” something that more than 20 states have done by enacting legislation that was supported by the nations’ largest telecommunications and cable companies.