Congress is just all up in the FCC’s business lately, it seems. Earlier this week, lawmakers in both houses proposed their own version of net neutrality, one that would also strip the FCC of its own authority to regulate broadband in the future. Today, there’s a bill looking to jump into one of the FCC’s other big issues right now: state laws that prohibit communities from developing municipal broadband.
Senators Cory Booker (NJ), Ed Markey (MA), and Claire McCaskill (MO) today introduced the Community Broadband Act, which would make it illegal for states to forbid municipalities from building out their own networks if they want to.
The core text of the bill reads: “No statute, regulation or other legal requirement of a State or local government may prohibit, or have the effect of prohibiting or substantially inhibiting, any public provider from providing telecommunications service or advanced telecommunications capability or services to any person or any public or private entity.”
The bill also seems to anticipate rebuttals about uses of taxpayer money, and specifically limits the availability of federal funds. If any public broadband project “fails due to bankruptcy or is terminated by a public provider,” it says, “no Federal funds may be provided to the public provider specifically to assist the public provider in reviving or renewing that project.”