Administration to FCC: Communities Need Flexibility to Fill Broadband Needs

But NTIA chief also says municipal broadband is not always, or even typically, best infrastructure answer

As advertised, the Obama administration has sent a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in support of municipal broadband, but it was a more measured advisory than the one the President had telegraphed, saying that communities building and operating their own infrastructure is not always or even "typically" the best solution for meeting a community's broadband needs.

The letter, from National Telecommunications & Information Administration chief Lawrence Strickling, the President's chief telecom policy adviser, does not offer the FCC explicit support for preempting state laws that limit municipal broadband buildouts, but it does lay a case out for the importance of local government-supported broadband "in cases where existing providers are not meeting a community's needs," and says cities' flexibility should not be limited.

To that extent it does not go as far as the President did in his speech on high-speed broadband this week. The President said that in many places incumbent ISPs are "doing everything they can" to "stamp out" competition. He said "enough is enough," and called on the FCC to do whatever it could to push back on those laws.

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