Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Obama Backs Government-Run Internet

Obama Backs Government-Run Internet
The president wants to overturn state laws that restrict cities from building their own Internet networks.

(Michael Smith/Getty Images)

January 13, 2015 President Obama will travel to Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Wednesday to tout the ability of local governments to provide high-speed Internet to their residents.

And he will urge the Federal Communications Commission to strike down state laws around the country that restrict the ability of cities to build their own broadband networks. The move is likely to draw fire from Republicans, who argue that states should be free to set their own policies—including restrictions on local governments.
"Laws in 19 states—some specifically written by special interests trying to stifle new competitors—have held back broadband access and, with it, economic opportunity," the White House wrote in a fact sheet. "Today, President Obama is announcing a new effort to support local choice in broadband, formally opposing measures that limit the range of options available to communities to spur expanded local broadband infrastructure, including ownership of networks."

Telecom and cable companies have been lobbying for the state laws, arguing that it's not fair for them to have to compete with government-owned Internet providers. The companies claim the city projects discourage private investment and are often expensive failures. House Republicans passed legislation last year to protect the state laws from FCC action.

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