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Federal Court Delivers a Blow to Municipal Broadband


Federal Court Delivers a Blow to Municipal Broadband

Candace Clement

The digital divide is alive and well in 2016 and there are still millions of people in the United States living without internet access. And a court decision that came down this week hasn’t helped matters.

On Wednesday, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the FCC’s 2015 order to preempt state-level restrictions in North Carolina and Tennessee on municipalities seeking to build their own high-speed broadband networks.


Poorly written article it is, as it contains very little substance and leaves the reader with too many questions, the most important of which should have been addressed in the article itself.

What were the the circumstances that led to the original suit in the lower court? In brief, what were the arguments of the plaintiff and defendant and what laws and regulations were of primary importance? What was the gist of the decision of the appellate court?

By the way, my take on the situation is that the appellate court simply did it job by enforcing states' rights versus those of their subdivisions, which is well-settled doctrine. Also, the judges correctly reasoned that Congress did not explicitly provide for the specific type of preemption by the FCC in overriding (i.e. preempting) the directives of the states' legislature in these type of situations and that the federal statute that the FCC relied upon to support its position generally did not support the FCC's position (i.e. of its right to preempt states laws restricting expansion of internet services beyond that of a particular counties boundaries.. So, the court is leaving it up to Congress, should it decide to enact such specific legislation.

I don't believe that the court ruled that a given county could not compete with private internet providers; it only ruled that, given the current federal statutes, a state could restrict expansion of internet services by one of its subdivisions beyond its county boundaries.


Perhaps you ought have researched the term "well settled," as your comment is entirely without merit. Regardless, I do respond so as not to have any reader misguided by your misconception.

The term "well-settled" does not invariably mean permanent"or unalterable; in jurisprudence, it simply means that under the circumstances, in a given time-frame, the courts have consistently ruled a certain way in respect of a given legal issue or interpreted a given legal doctrine in a particular manner. It refers to precedent, in respected of which, there is no compelling reason to rehash.

That said, almost any lawyer would tell you that interpretation is valid. Moreover, I have read much of the Founding Fathers' Federalist Papers and I have. also analyzed countless court decisions. My understanding of the term "well settled" is consistent with its widely applications as far as jurisprudence is concerned.


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