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Stop the Secrecy

Vox: The FCC wants to let cities build their own broadband. House Republicans disagree.

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 16:02 -- Eva Prkachin

Communities around the world are leading the way in developing locally-owned and operated broadband networks. Here's why it's getting harder to do that in the U.S. Spoiler alert: politicians are screwing it up.

Article by Timothy B. Lee for Vox

This week, the House of Representatives approved legislation from Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) that would make it harder for cities to build publicly-owned broadband networks. The proposal is a shot at Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler, who wants to remove state-level restrictions on municipal networks; Blackburn's legislation would forbid the FCC from removing those restrictions. This is the latest escalation of a long-running war between municipal broadband supporters and incumbent broadband companies that have relentlessly opposed municipal broadband proposals.

Right now, only a few communities have municipal networks. But supporters argue that they provide a model that could give more of us faster and more affordable internet access in the future.

How does municipal broadband work? And why has it become so controversial? Read on to find out.

- Read more at Vox