What You Can Do:
Two new amendments will likely be added to an appropriations bill in Washington, that could have a devastating snowball effect in the drive for local authority. Right now, Rep. Blackburn from Tennessee is expected to offer the amendments on Tuesday or Wednesday. We anticipate the amendments to have wording that either restricts the FCC from preempting state anti-muni laws or bans them outright.
It’s important that you call your D.C. representatives and let them know the amendment is:
- Bad for Local Economies
- Bad for Education and savings
- The FCC should not have its authority limited in any way at this time.
If these amendments move forward, the consequences could be catastrophic, and could further erode local authority for muni networks.
It is especially critical that communities with networks, or those working toward investment contact their Representatives’ D.C. offices and tell them that Congress should not restrict the FCC.
H.R. 4752 from Rep Latta (R-OH) will be brought up in the House, likely as an appropriations rider, some time within the next few days. In the past several months, the municipal network movement has made great strides. If passed, this bill’s content can be a significant setback. We encourage you to call the D.C. office of your elected officials and tell them to vote NO on H.R. 4752, NO on any rider based on H.R. 4752’s language, and NO on any amendment that restricts FCC authority.
Be very specific when it comes to municipal networks – local governments should be the ones to decide whether a network makes sense. These amendments are designed to strip the power from the FCC that would allow it to ensure local governments can make this decision.
H.R. 4752’s language would prevent the FCC from regulating Internet service providers under Title II. There is also some indication that the House will consider an amendment on municipal broadband; constituents need to stop the rider and the amendment from moving forward.
This bill was introduced months ago. According to OpenSecrets.org, its Republican sponsor has received more than $320,000 in campaign contributions from the communications sector since 2007.
The Free Press has also spoken out against this bill, which would help destroy network neutrality and this lethal amendment.
Get the word out to your communities ASAP! Call your Rep’s D.C. office and urge him or her to vote NO on this bill or on any similar rider and NO on any amendment restricting FCC authority. As you know, if the FCC is limited in this way, its authority to take other meaningful action to support municipal networks will be compromised.
When you call your Representative’s D.C. office, ask first to speak to the staffer in charge of telecom. If you live in a community where you have benefitted from a municipal network or in a community that is exploring the option, share your experiences. Let them know that you not want Congress limiting FCC authority in this way.