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Coverage of FCC Decision on Muni Broadband Networks and Net Neutrality

| Written by ILSR Admin | No Comments | Updated on Mar 1, 2015 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/coverage-fcc-decision-muni-broadband-networks-net-neutrality/
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Various Sources, February 26 – March 1, 2015

ILSR was part of a broad coalition that had been working to get the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt rules to protect the development of municipally owned broadband networks across the country along with supporting net neutrality.  Here are a selection of media stories that ILSR was cited in around this important decision.

MEDIA COVERAGE

FCC Tests Its Authority Over States – Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2015

At least 82 communities have access to public Internet service at speeds of more than a gigabit a second, according to the pro-city Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

How broadband develops here: Local goals, state grants – St. Cloud Times, March 1, 2015

The possibility is something cities should evaluate, said Chris Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, though “not every local government should do it.”

Is FCC Approval of Net Neutrality a Real Win for Consumers? – The Real News Network, February 28, 2015

Interview with ILSR’s Christopher Mitchell on FCC rulings.

FCC internet ruling changes little for Madison’s municipal broadband efforts – The Capital Times, February 27, 2015

Christopher Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, largely agreed with that take, saying plans and hearings are things any smart city would be doing anyway.  “A number of local governments would prefer to be able to keep different things secret,” Mitchell said. “When it comes down to money, generally local governments have to be more transparent, and I think that’s an acceptable trade-off because they are local governments.”

FCC Allows City-Owned Internet Providers to Expand – ABC News, February 26, 2015

Local governments that offer broadband contend they were at risk of being left behind economically. More than 450 communities nationwide have municipal broadband offerings, according to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, which supports community Internet providers.

Net neutrality activists score landmark victory in fight to govern the Internet  – The Guardian, February 26, 2015

Christopher Mitchell, director of community broadband networks at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, said Thursday’s vote could set “an historic precedent” that could “profoundly impact the lives of three-quarters of Americans who are without broadband or a choice in their service because of big cable underinvestment in their towns”.

The Other Reason Cable Companies Are Sad Today – Time Magazine, February 26, 2015

“[A]llowing communities to be the owners and stewards of their own broadband networks is a watershed moment that will serve as a check against the worst abuses of the cable monopoly for decades to come,” wrote Christopher Mitchell, the Director of Community Broadband Networks at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, in a press release.

What You Need to Know About the Net Neutrality Decision – Bloomberg News, February 26, 2015

“If this goes well, consumers will not notice a difference,” says Christopher Mitchell, an official with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, an advocacy group for community development that supported the net neutrality proposal. Mitchell says the FCC rules are aimed at “preventing things from getting worse.”

As Big as Net Neutrality, FCC Votes to Kill State Imposed Internet Monopolies – Fast Company, February 26, 2015

Christopher Mitchell, director of community broadband networks at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, wrote in a statement the ruling could prove at least as important as the net neutrality decision.  “Preventing big Internet Service Providers from unfairly discriminating against content online is a victory, but allowing communities to be the owners and stewards of their own broadband networks is a watershed moment that will serve as a check against the worst abuses of the cable monopoly for decades to come,” wrote Mitchell.  Muni Broadband map, courtesy of Institute for Local Self Reliance.   Mitchell says he expects to see a federal appeals court challenge to the ruling.

FCC strikes down rules blocking government-run Internet service – Daily Dot, February 26, 2015

“I think the FCC is heading in the direction that recognizes states have the authority to ban cities from building networks. But if they allow it, they cannot create additional barriers,” said Chris Mitchell, a municipal broadband advocate at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “So if you look at [Chattanooga] … the FCC is likely to remove barriers to cities with muni electrics but cities without muni electrics still won’t be able to build these networks.”

“I think we will see many barriers that are suspect but states will still be able to ban muni networks if they so choose,” he continued. “I don’t know whether a 50 percent referendum will be considered a barrier. In my mind, if a referendum is required for a $50 million sports stadium, should [we] have one for a $50 million fiber project?”

Victory for Municipal Broadband: FCC Sides with Communities in Internet Access Fight – eNews Park Forest, February 26, 2015

Christopher Mitchell, director of community broadband networks at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, added, “Cable companies lost their bet that millions spent on lobbying to stifle competition was a wiser investment than extending high-quality Internet to our nation’s entrepreneurs, students and rural families.  “Preventing big Internet Service Providers from unfairly discriminating against content online is a victory, but allowing communities to be the owners and stewards of their own broadband networks is a watershed moment that will serve as a check against the worst abuses of the cable monopoly for decades to come,” Mitchell continued.

FCC To Vote On Municipal Broadband Rules Thursday; Overshadowed By Net Neutrality Debate – Talk Business, February 25, 2015

Christopher Mitchell, spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), said the FCC ruling is expected to eliminate barriers to setting up municipal networks that allow communities to reap all the benefits of high-quality Internet connections at lower costs.

“In the short-term, it will only affect those communities in North Carolina and Tennessee,” said Mitchell, director of ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks Initiative. “But in the future, it will open the door for communities in Arkansas who want to offer broadband to petition the FCC to do so.”