Forty two mayors affiliated with Next Century Cities, a non-profit organization, are reacting to a broadband decision by a court that prevents two municipalities’ federally-approved strategies to increase access to underserved communities from going forward.
Next Century Cities mission is to help municipalities increase access to gigabit level Internet in order to develop local economies, create jobs, improve healthcare and education and connect residents to opportunities, according to its website.
The letter supports broadband choice at the local level, specifically in Chattanooga, Tenn., and Wilson, N.C. The mayors oppose a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit overturning an Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling preempting state laws in Tennessee and North Carolina.
The 2015 FCC ruling would have had allowed Chattanooga and Wilson to expand networks to neighboring communities.
While our paths vary, we are united by our commitment to competition and the right of self-determination for all our communities, free from interference. The recent decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit was a disappointing reminder that the ability of local communities to make our own internet decisions remains at risk,” the letter stated.
Next Century Cities seeks to convince lawmakers that communities should be able to make their own decisions regarding broadband, and regards the court’s decision as a setback.
“Today’s letter, signed by over forty mayors and city leaders from across the country, shows the significant support Mayor Berke and Mayor Rose have from their colleagues in their fight for broadband choice at the local level…We encourage all stakeholders to work together in order to protect the essential right to local self-determination for broadband nationwide,” said Deb Socia, executive director of Next Century Cities.
Read more about municipal broadband efforts to close the digital divide: