ILSR applauds U.S. Lawmakers banding together to support Community Broadband Networks.


CONTACT: Rebecca Toews 612-808-0689 –

Minneapolis, MN — The Institute for Local Self-Reliance praises Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken of Minnesota for leading the growing list of organizations committed to defending the authority of communities to make their own decisions when it comes to build the Internet networks of tomorrow.

The senators, along with Senators Richard Blumenthal (CT), Cory Booker, (NJ) Representatives Mike Doyle (PA), Anna Eshoo (CA), and Henry Waxman (CA) signed a strong letter to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler Friday, announcing their support of the chairman’s decision to remove state barriers to municipal networks. Some 20 states currently limit local authority to build networks even when the incumbent firms refuse to upgrade to modern services.

The senators join together with these organizations, which already support the right to build community networks:

  • American Public Power Association (APPA)
  • National Conference of Mayors (NCM)
  • Coalition for Local Internet Choice (CLIC)
  • National League of Cities (NLC)
  • National Association of Counties (NACo)
  • National Association of Telecommunications Officers (NATOA)

“High quality Internet access is essential for jobs and education,” says Christopher Mitchell, director of Community Broadband Networks at the Institute. “But big cable and telephone companies have pushed state laws to limit competition, even in areas where they will not invest.”

In a recent blog post, Chairman Wheeler announced his support for community networks: “The facts speak for themselves: competition works – when it is allowed to. Throughout the country where we have seen competitive broadband providers come in to a market, prices have gone down and broadband speeds have gone up. No wonder incumbent broadband providers want to legislate rather than innovate.”

The Congressional letter to FCC Chair Wheeler asks him to respond with his plans to “make progress on community broadband.”

For more information: Contact Rebecca Toews ( and visit


We believe we make better and more informed policies when those who design those policies are those who feel their impact.

ILSR works with citizens, activists, policymakers and entrepreneurs to provide them with innovative strategies and working models that support environmentally sound and equitable economic policies and community development. Since 1974, ILSR has championed local self-reliance, a strategy that underscores the need for humanly scaled institutions and economies and the widest possible distribution of ownership.


Christopher Mitchell is the Director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

Mitchell leads the acclaimed as part of ILSR’s effort to ensure broadband networks are directly accountable to the communities that depend upon them.

He is a leading national expert on community networks, advises high-ranking broadband decision-makers, speaks on radio and television programs in markets across the United States, and frequently presents at telecommunications policy events around the world.

Mitchell, the author of Santa Monica City Net: An Incremental Approach to Building a Fiber Optic Network and Minnesota Local Governments Advance Super Fast Networks, has been at the center of the battle to help more than 400 cities lead the way in offering the nation’s fastest and least expensive telecommunications services. “We know community broadband networks work and we know they are a key to vibrant modern local economies.”