Mayors like and loath FCC broadband rules

25 June 2015 by Steve Blum
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By David Ball (Original work) [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC BY 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Mayors in U.S. cities want the federal government’s help to maintain their cities’ authority to build and operate municipal broadband systems (h/t to the Baller-Herbst list for the pointer). At least, the U.S. conference of mayors does, voting to approve a resolution that calls out Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler’s move to preempt state-imposed restrictions on municipal broadband systems and urges congress and the president to follow his lead

Now, therefore, be it resolved, that the United States Conference of Mayors applauds the FCC, under the leadership of Chairman Tom Wheeler, for preempting state barriers to municipal broadband service, which have served as a significant limitation to competition in the provision of Internet access; and

Be it further resolved, that The United States Conference of Mayors encourages Congress and the Administration to pursue all legislative and regulatory avenues to allow cities and communities maximum flexibility in constructing their own broadband networks.

The mayors want the FCC to expand lifeline subsidies to include broadband service – something that’s already under consideration. They also want it to reverse course and allow cities to collect cable franchise fees without factoring in the value of other benefits like public access channels. And extract those bennies without exempting Internet – over the top – video providers from the tender mercies of municipal regulation. All that without a hint of irony in also proclaiming that “the Internet has existed based on principles of freedom and openness, core values that have made it the most powerful communication medium ever known”.

None of the broadband positions taken by the conference are anything but conventional wisdom for cities, and those were just four amongst 84 approved resolutions, including one thanking their host, San Francisco mayor Ed Lee.