U.S. Senate Takes Up Federal Broadband Preemption
Last week, the League reported on efforts at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to preempt city authority over broadband deployment in the right-of-way. This week, national preemption efforts appear to be escalating to the U.S. Senate.
The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation is currently circulating draft legislation that would preempt municipal authority over rights-of-way, as well as limit the compensation a city may collect from a broadband provider. The National League of Cities is in the process of communicating with committee staff with the message that cities share the goal of expanded broadband infrastructure deployment, but that goal shouldn’t mean preemption of city authority over municipal right-of-way.
Make no mistake: This is a major threat to municipal authority and revenue. The effort will likely apply to most types of broadband deployment, including small cell nodes, cable, and fiber.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz serves on the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Concerned city officials should contact his office now to express their opposition to any federal legislation that would take away city right-of-way authority or subsidize already profitable broadband companies at taxpayer expense.