San Francisco's Heart Isn't in State, Local Preemption

Tells FCC that is unnecessary, and franchise fees shouldn't be on table

The city of San Francisco says there is no justification for the FCC to preempt state and local "authority" over the deployment of wireline facilities.

That came in comments on the FCC's notice of inquiry asking how it should go about speeding wired broadband deployment, including whether preemption should be in play. The comments were due this week.

"There is no compelling evidence that in 2017 local governments are imposing barriers to CLECs [competitive carriers] entering their markets to provide telecommunications services," the city told the FCC.

It said anecdotal evidence is not sufficient to preempt and could lead to needless action. "In the context of adopting rules for nationwide broadband deployment, the Commission should develop a thorough record on the context of alleged incidents so that it can determine whether these are isolated incidents or indicate broad problems that the Commission can effectively address."

For its part, the city said that it provides "simple, expeditious administrative permits."

The FCC also suggested that it could take into account the amount of franchise fees when deciding whether other fees on top of that were excessive.

San Francisco said the two can't be conflated. "Cable franchise fees that federal law authorizes a local franchising authority to impose on cable operators, and that a cable operator agrees to pay, are separate and apart from any fees that a local government is entitled to impose on that cable operator for the operator’s provision of telecommunications or other services," the city said.

(Photo via Matt Biddulph's FlickrImage taken on June 16, 2017 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 3x4 aspect ratio.)