Blog Post

Statement on Sixth Circuit Court Overturning FCC Decision for Local Broadband Choice

Washington, DC (August 10, 2016) – In a move that impacts Next Century Cities members Chattanooga, TN and Wilson, NC, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit today released a decision overturning the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) ruling allowing these cities the opportunity to make their own local decisions on broadband access.

“Today’s court decision is a blow to communities in Tennessee and North Carolina that were fighting for more accessible, affordable internet access for their residents, and will sadly prevent the expansion of each city’s broadband network to neighboring underserved communities,” said Deb Socia, Executive Director of Next Century Cities. “The 147 mayors and city leaders nationwide who are members of Next Century Cities value competition and unique solutions that work for each community. Today’s court ruling is a setback in the fight to ensure access to next-generation broadband for more Americans, and Next Century Cities is disappointed by this decision.”

Next Century Cities, a nonprofit membership organization of over 145 mayors and city leaders nationwide committed to ensuring access to fast, affordable, and reliable internet access for their citizens, welcomed the FCC’s ruling in February 2015 that allowed our member communities to expand their networks. Next Century Cities joined the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in filing an amicus brief that argued the state laws constituted a barrier to broadband deployment, and before the FCC decision, 38 Next Century Cities mayors signed an open letter to the FCC urging the Commissioners to protect a core principle of local internet choice.

“We thank the FCC for fighting for the rights of local communities, and thank Mayor Andy Berke of Chattanooga, TN and Mayor Bruce Rose of Wilson, NC for standing up for their communities’ rights to local choice and the broadband solutions that work for their citizens,” Deb Socia continued. “We hope that this decision will be appealed and that the rights of communities to make their own broadband decisions will be respected.”