Big cable and DSL companies have passed bills in many states to revoke local decision-making authority because they have armies of lobbyists, make massive campaign contributions, and the public has historically not paid attention to such legislation.
We don’t have big teams of lobbyists and won’t be making any big campaign contributions anytime soon. But we can make sure our elected officials know we are watching them and we want to reserve the right to make decisions about investing in essential infrastructure. Communities should make these decisions locally, not states and certainly not the feds.
What To Do
There are several things you can do to preserve local authority. Join our announcement mailing list to stay informed about legislation or other impacts on local broadband authority.
- Write your elected officials. If you live in a state with active attempts to revoke local authority, write to your state representatives to oppose it.
- Encourage local elected officials to push state officials to oppose pending threats to local authority. Even if a community has no plans to build a network, it should be their choice, not the state’s.
- Encourage local organizations and businesses to sign on to a statement or resolution opposing limits on local authority to make broadband investments. A sample resolution from North Carolina provides a good starting point.
If you live in a state with barriers to community networks, encourage them to remove barriers. Feel free to contact us and we may be able to connect you to other local allies.
If you live in a state without barriers to networks, let your elected officials know that you want to keep it that way. Lobbyists from big cable and telephone companies are frequently working behind the scenes to enact new barriers to kill any form of potential competition they could face.
Encourage your federal elected officials to support legislation that will enact Recommendation 8.19 of the Federal Communication Commission’s National Broadband Plan:
Congress should make clear that Tribal, state, regional and local governments can build broadband networks.
Feel free to share your letters and responses from elected officials with us via comments below.