Blog Post

Letter Signed by 42 Mayors and City Leaders Sent to Chattanooga, TN & Wilson, NC

Over 40 Leaders from 38 Communities across the Nation Show Solidarity with Mayor Berke and Mayor Rose, Support Broadband Solutions that Are Right for Their Citizens

Washington, DC (August 24, 2016) — Over forty mayors and city leaders from the bipartisan membership organization Next Century Cities today sent a letter to Mayor Andy Berke of Chattanooga, TN, and Mayor Bruce Rose of Wilson, NC. The 42 signers stood in solidarity with their mayoral colleagues and advocated for local self-determination on broadband solutions. The full letter is here.

Today’s letter is in response to the recent decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit that overturned the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) ruling to preempt restrictive state barriers in Tennessee and North Carolina.

“As mayors and municipal leaders, we know that there is no single best solution for supporting connectivity in our communities,” the letter stated. “While our paths vary, we are united by our commitment to competition and the right of self-determination for all our communities, free from interference. The recent decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit was a disappointing reminder that the ability of local communities to make our own internet decisions remains at risk.”

The 2015 FCC ruling had allowed Chattanooga and Wilson to expand their networks to underserved neighboring communities, increasing citizens’ access to next-generation internet connectivity and allowing local communities to choose the unique broadband solutions that are right for them.

The letter also noted that in the narrow 6th Circuit Court decision, the judges mentioned the public benefits and commercial success of the broadband networks in Chattanooga and Wilson. All of the signers are part of Next Century Cities, a non-profit city-to-city effort supporting mayors and city leaders across the country dedicated to ensuring fast, affordable, reliable broadband for their citizens.

“Today’s letter, signed by over forty mayors and city leaders from across the country, shows the significant support Mayor Berke and Mayor Rose have from their colleagues in their fight for broadband choice at the local level,” said Deb Socia, Executive Director of Next Century Cities. “This letter, signed by cities large and small, serves as a reminder to state and federal lawmakers that communities must be empowered to make their own decisions regarding broadband. We encourage all stakeholders to work together in order to protect the essential right to local self-determination for broadband nationwide.”

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Next Century Cities is a non-profit membership organization of 149 communities, founded to support communities and their elected leaders, including mayors and other officials, as they seek to ensure that all have access to fast, affordable, and reliable Internet. Next Century Cities celebrates these successes, demonstrates their value, and helps other cities to realize the full power of truly high-speed, affordable, and accessible broadband. For more information, visit www.nextcenturycities.org.