U.S. court blocks FCC bid to expand public broadband

By David Shepardson WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A federal appeals court said on Wednesday the U.S. Federal Communications Commission could not block two states from setting limits on municipal broadband expansion, a decision seen as a win for private-sector providers of broadband internet and a setback for FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. Cities in Tennessee and North Carolina had sought to expand municipal broadband networks beyond current boundaries, but faced laws forbidding or placing onerous restrictions on the expansions. The FCC voted 3-2 in 2015 to issue an order seeking to pre-empt those state laws, saying a 1996 law required it to remove barriers to broadband investment and that the municipalities wanted to expand service into areas with little or no internet service.

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