FCC weighs laws blocking local Internet providers from competing with telecoms


FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has a problem. By 2015, the regulator wants at least one city in every state to have super-fast internet. The companies that provide that service? Not so much.

As he contends with calls from from no less than President Obama to mandate net neutrality, Wheeler is reviewing a challenge to state laws that have blocked municipalities from starting – or expanding – their own internet services. The attack is led by municipally owned internet service providers (ISPs) in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Wilson, North Carolina: cities with lightning-fast internet speeds of one gigabit a second, about 50 times better than the US average. Neighbors in rural counties want to sign up, and that’s where the trouble starts.