The Illinois community of Urbana, home of UC2B, recently passed a resolution in favor of FCC's section 706 authority. The community's fiber project is bridging the digital divide in this community of 41,000.
On March 17, the City Council voted unanimously to support the FCC as it considers action to discourage, prevent, and remove state legislative barriers that block municipal networks.
The language is similar to resolutions from communities such as Sebewaing, Vidalia, Ammon, and Moultrie. Urbana noted in its resolution that it has made substantial efforts to bring access to more people in the community. We interviewed Carol Ammons from the U-C Independent Media Center and Brandon Bowersox-Johnson from UC2B in episode 42 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast. Chris, Carol, and Brandon discussed the way the community is capitalizing on the rare urban FTTH network.
A RESOLUTION TO SUPPORT FCC EFFORTS IN PROTECTING LOCAL AUTHORITY
TO BUILD BROADBAND INFRASTRUCTURE
WHEREAS, the universal availability of affordable high speed Internet access for all citizens has been identified as a national priority; and
WHEREAS, community/municipal broadband networks provide an option for market competition, consumer choice, economic development, and universal, affordable Internet access; and
WHEREAS, historically, local governments have ensured access to essential services by banding together to provide those services that were not offered by the private sector at a reasonable and competitive cost. This involvement has included electrification, public libraries, and other important services; and
WHEREAS, residents of Urbana have a history of advocacy for expansion of Internet access worldwide and the City has invested in local projects to achieve broader access that would not have been realized using private investment alone; and
WHEREAS, local government leaders recognize that the ability to thrive economically and to improve quality of life depends on connecting their communities, and they understand that it takes both private and public investment to achieve this goal; and
WHEREAS, attempts have been made in other states to limit or stop further local government deployment of municipal Internet services through legislation, which has the potential of reducing the ability of local government to provide important information and services to their citizens in a timely, efficient, and cost effective manner; and
WHEREAS, the DC Circuit Court has determined that Section 706 of the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 unambiguously grants authority to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to remove barriers that deter network infrastructure investment;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF URBANA, ILLINOIS, supports FCC efforts to ensure local governments are able to invest in essential Internet infrastructure, if they so choose, without state-imposed barriers to discourage such an approach.