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Chairman Response Regarding Broadband Deployment

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Released: August 22, 2014
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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

WASHINGTON

OFFICE OF

August 11, 2014

THE CHAIRMAN

The Honorable Richard Blumenthal

United States Senate

702 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Blumenthal:

Thank you for your letter concerning the urgent need for deployment of advanced

broadband networks in order to ensure our nation's future. I greatly appreciate your leadership

on this vital issue. I wholeheartedly agree with you that high quality broadband will play a

crucial role in our country's growth and prosperity in the years to come.

Broadband is a powerful platform that encourages economic growth and facilitates

improvements in education, health care, public safety, and other key policy areas. This is

particularly true for small and rural communities, where the availability of high quality

broadband can be the difference between a future of growth and innovation or economic decline.

Private sector incumbent telephone and cable companies have invested billions of dollars

in broadband deployment in the past decade. That investment has been of great benefit to our

nation in many ways. However, that investment has not yet reached every comer of America.

Around the country, communities have focused on the importance of ensuring that they receive

the benefits of broadband, and some have concluded that investing in their own broadband

efforts will provide more competition -

along with the economic and social benefits that

accompany competition -

for their residents and businesses.

At the same time, many states have enacted laws that place a range of restrictions on

communities' ability to invest in their own future. There is reason to believe that these laws have

the effect of limiting competition in those areas, contrary to almost two decades of bipartisan

federal communications policy that is focused on encouraging competition.

I am heartened by your support for community broadband and your recognition of the

vital importance of robust broadband to our country as a whole and to smaller communities in

particular. As you note, "it was the intent behind the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to

eliminate barriers to entry into the broadband market and promote competition in order to

stimulate more innovation and consumer choice."

We have received the petitions filed by EPB ofChattanooga,TN, and the City of Wilson,

North Carolina, and are reviewing them. Any Commission decision on community broadband

issues will be made only after a full opportunity for comment by all interested parties in an open

image02-00.jpg612x792

Page 2-

The Honorable Richard Blumenthal

proceeding and a careful analysis of the specific factual, policy, and legal issues involved. I

respect the important role of state governments in our federal system, but I know that state laws

that directly conflict with critical federal laws and policy may be subject to preemption in

appropriate circumstances. I recognize that federal preemption is not a step to be taken lightly

without a careful consideration of all relevant legal and policy issues.

Thank you for your leadership on these crucial issues. Your views are very important

and will be included as part of the Commission's review. Please let me know if I can be of any

further assistance.

image03-00.jpg612x792

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

WASHINGTON

OFFICE OF

August 11, 2014

THE CHAIRMAN

The Honorable Cory Booker

United States Senate

141 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Booker:

Thank you for your letter concerning the urgent need for deployment of advanced

broadband networks in order to ensure our nation's future. I greatly appreciate your leadership

on this vital issue. I wholeheartedly agree with you that high quality broadband will play a

crucial role in our country's growth and prosperity in the years to come.

Broadband is a powerful platform that encourages economic growth and facilitates

improvements in education, health care, public safety, and other key policy areas. This is

particularly true for small and rural communities, where the availability of high quality

broadband can be the difference between a future of growth and innovation or economic decline.

Private sector incumbent telephone and cable companies have invested billions of dollars

in broadband deployment in the past decade. That investment has been of great benefit to our

nation in many ways. However, that investment has not yet reached every comer of America.

Around the country, communities have focused on the importance of ensuring that they receive

the benefits ofbroadband, and some have concluded that investing in their own broadband

efforts will provide more competition -

along with the economic and social benefits that

accompany competition -

for their residents and businesses.

At the same time, many states have enacted laws that place a range of restrictions on

communities' ability to invest in their own future.

There is reason to believe that these laws have

the effect of limiting competition in those areas, contrary to almost two decades of bipartisan

federal communications policy that is focused on encouraging competition.

I am heartened by your support for community broadband and your recognition of the

vital importance of robust broadband to our country as a whole and to smaller communities in

particular. As you note, "it was the intent behind the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to

eliminate barriers to entry into the broadband market and promote competition in order to

stimulate more innovation and consumer choice."

We have received the petitions filed by EPB ofChattanooga,TN, and the City of Wilson,

North Carolina, and are reviewing them. Any Commission decision on community broadband

issues will be made only after a full opportunity for comment by all interested parties in an open

image04-00.jpg612x792

Page 2-The Honorable Cory Booker

proceeding and a careful analysis of the specific factual, policy, and legal issues involved. I

respect the important role of state governments in our federal system, but I know that state laws

that directly conflict with critical federal laws and policy may be subject to preemption in

appropriate circumstances. I recognize that federal preemption is not a step to be taken lightly

without a careful consideration of all relevant legal and policy issues.

Thank you for your leadership on these crucial issues. Your views are very important

and will be included as part ofthe Commission's review. Please let me know if I can be of any

further assistance.

Sincerê, I ~ (

J:r-)ih(-

Tom Wheeler

image05-00.jpg612x792

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

WASHINGTON

OFFICE OF

August 11, 2014

THE CHAIRMAN

The Honorable Mike Doyle

U.S. House ofRepresentatives

239 Cannon House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Congressman Doyle:

Thank you for your letter concerning the urgent need for deployment of advanced

broadband networks in order to ensure our nation's future. I greatly appreciate your leadership

on this vital issue. I wholeheartedly agree with you that high quality broadband will play a

crucial role in our country' s growth and prosperity in the years to come.

Broadband is a powerful platform that encourages economic growth and facilitates

improvements in education, health care, public safety, and other key policy areas. This is

particularly true for small and rural communities, where the availability of high quality

broadband can be the difference between a future of growth and innovation or economic decline.

Private sector incumbent telephone and cable companies have invested billions of dollars

in broadband deployment in the past decade. That investment has been of great benefit to our

nation in many ways. However, that investment has not yet reached every corner of America.

Around the country, communities have focused on the importance of ensuring that they receive

the benefits of broadband, and some have concluded that investing in their own broadband

efforts will provide more competition -

along with the economic and social benefits that

accompany competition -

for their residents and businesses.

At the same time, many states have enacted laws that place a range of restrictions on

communities' ability to invest in their own future. There is reason to believe that these laws have

the effect of limiting competition in those areas, contrary to almost two decades of bipartisan

federal communications policy that is focused on encouraging competition.

I am heartened by your support for community broadband and your recognition of the

vital importance of robust broadband to our country as a whole and to smaller communities in

particular. As you note, "it was the intent behind the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to

eliminate barriers to entry into the broadband market and promote competition in order to

stimulate more innovation and consumer choice."

We have received the petitions filed by EPB ofChattanooga,TN, and the City of Wilson,

North Carolina, and are reviewing them. Any Commission decision on community broadband

issues will be made only after a full opportunity for comment by all interested parties in an open

image06-00.jpg612x792

Page 2-The Honorable Mike Doyle

proceeding and a careful analysis of the specific factual, policy, and legal issues involved. I

respect the important role of state governments in our federal system, but I know that state laws

that directly conflict with critical federal laws and policy may be subject to preemption in

appropriate circumstances. I recognize that federal preemption is not a step to be taken lightly

without a careful consideration of all relevant legal and policy issues.

Thank you for your leadership on these crucial issues. Your views are very important

and will be included as part of the Commission's review. Please let me know ifl can be of any

further assistance.

Tom Wheeler

image07-00.jpg612x792

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

WASHINGTON

OFFICE OF

August 11, 2014

THE CHAIRMAN

The Honorable Anna Eshoo

U.S. House ofRepresentatives

241 Cannon House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Congresswoman Eshoo:

Thank you for your letter concerning the urgent need for deployment of advanced

broadband networks in order to ensure our nation's future. I greatly appreciate your leadership

on this vital issue. I wholeheartedly agree with you that high quality broadband will play a

crucial role in our country's growth and prosperity in the years to come.

Broadband is a powerful platform that encourages economic growth and facilitates

improvements in education, health care, public safety, and other key policy areas. This is

particularly true for small and rural communities, where the availability of high quality

broadband can be the difference between a future of growth and innovation or economic decline.

Private sector incumbent telephone and cable companies have invested billions of dollars

in broadband deployment in the past decade. That investment has been of great benefit to our

nation in many ways. However, that investment has not yet reached every comer of America.

Around the country, communities have focused on the importance of ensuring that they receive

the benefits of broadband, and some have concluded that investing in their own broadband

efforts will provide more competition -

along with the economic and social benefits that

accompany competition -

for their residents and businesses.

At the same time, many states have enacted laws that place a range of restrictions on

communities' ability to invest in their own future. There is reason to believe that these laws have

the effect of limiting competition in those areas, contrary to almost two decades of bipartisan

federal communications policy that is focused on encouraging competition.

I am heartened by your support for community broadband and your recognition of the

vital importance of robust broadband to our country as a whole and to smaller communities in

particular. As you note, "it was the intent behind the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to

eliminate barriers to entry into the broadband market and promote competition in order to

stimulate more innovation and consumer choice."

We have received the petitions filed by EPB ofChattanooga,TN, and the City of Wilson,

North Carolina, and are reviewing them. Any Commission decision on community broadband

issues will be made only after a full opportunity for comment by all interested parties in an open

proceeding and a careful analysis of the specific factual, policy, and legal issues involved. I

image08-00.jpg612x792

Page 2-The Honorable Anna Eshoo

respect the important role of state governments in our federal system, but I know that state laws

that directly conflict with critical federal laws and policy may be subject to preemption in

appropriate circumstances. I recognize that federal preemption is not a step to be taken lightly

without a careful consideration of all relevant legal and policy issues.

Thank you for your leadership on these crucial issues. Your views are very important

and will be included as part of the Commission's review. Please let me know if I can be of any

further assistance.

image09-00.jpg612x792

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

WASHINGTON

O FFI C E OF

August 11 , 2014

THE CH A IRMAN

The Honorable Al Franken

United States Senate

309 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Franken:

Thank you for your letter concerning the urgent need for deployment of advanced

broadband networks in order to ensure our nation's future. I greatly appreciate your leadership

on this vital issue. I wholeheartedly agree with you that high quality broadband will play a

crucial role in our country's growth and prosperity in the years to come.

Broadband is a powerful platform that encourages economic growth and facilitates

improvements in education, health care, public safety, and other key policy areas. This is

particularly true for small and rural communities, where the availability of high quality

broadband can be the difference between a future of growth and innovation or economic decline.

Private sector incumbent telephone and cable companies have invested billions of dollars

in broadband deployment in the past decade. That investment has been of great benefit to our

nation in many ways. However, that investment has not yet reached every corner of America.

Around the country, communities have focused on the importance of ensuring that they receive

the benefits of broadband, and some have concluded that investing in their own broadband

efforts will provide more competition -

along with the economic and social benefits that

accompany competition -

for their residents and businesses.

At the same time, many states have enacted laws that place a range of restrictions on

communities' ability to invest in their own future. There is reason to believe that these laws have

the effect of limiting competition in those areas, contrary to almost two decades of bipartisan

federal communications policy that is focused on encouraging competition.

I am heartened by your support for community broadband and your recognition of the

vital importance of robust broadband to our country as a whole and to smaller communities in

particular. As you note, "it was the intent behind the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to

eliminate barriers to entry into the broadband market and promote competition in order to

stimulate more innovation and consumer choice."

We have received the petitions filed by EPB ofChattanooga,TN, and the City of Wilson,

North Carolina, and are reviewing them. Any Commission decision on community broadband

issues will be made only after a full opportunity for comment by all interested parties in an open

image10-00.jpg612x792

Page 2-The Honorable Al Franken

proceeding and a careful analysis of the specific factual, policy, and legal issues involved. I

respect the important role of state governments in our federal system, but I know that state laws

that directly conflict with critical federal laws and policy may be subject to preemption in

appropriate circumstances. I recognize that federal preemption is not a step to be taken lightly

without a careful consideration of all relevant legal and policy issues.

Thank you for your leadership on these crucial issues. Your views are very important

and will be included as part ofthe Commission's review. Please let me know ifl can be of any

further assistance.

Sincerely,~~Ã~

-~y;~'

Tom Wheeler

image11-00.jpg612x792

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

WASHINGTON

OFFICE OF

August 11, 2014

THE CHAIRMAN

The Honorable Amy Klobuchar

United States Senate

302 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Klobuchar:

Thank you for your letter concerning the urgent need for deployment of advanced

broadband networks in order to ensure our nation's future. I greatly appreciate your leadership

on this vital issue. I wholeheartedly agree with you that high quality broadband will play a

crucial role in our country's growth and prosperity in the years to come.

Broadband is a powerful platform that encourages economic growth and facilitates

improvements in education, health care, public safety, and other key policy areas. This is

particularly true for small and rural communities, where the availability of high quality

broadband can be the difference between a future of growth and innovation or economic decline.

Private sector incumbent telephone and cable companies have invested billions of dollars

in broadband deployment in the past decade. That investment has been of great benefit to our

nation in many ways. However, that investment has not yet reached every corner of America.

Around the country, communities have focused on the importance of ensuring that they receive

the benefits of broadband, and some have concluded that investing in their own broadband

efforts will provide more competition -

along with the economic and social benefits that

accompany competition -

for their residents and businesses.

At the same time, many states have enacted laws that place a range of restrictions on

communities' ability to invest in their own future. There is reason to believe that these laws have

the effect of limiting competition in those areas, contrary to almost two decades of bipartisan

federal communications policy that is focused on encouraging competition.

I am heartened by your support for community broadband and your recognition of the

vital importance of robust broadband to our country as a whole and to smaller communities in

particular. As you note, "it was the intent behind the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to

eliminate barriers to entry into the broadband market and promote competition in order to

stimulate more innovation and consumer choice."

We have received the petitions filed by EPB ofChattanooga,TN, and the City ofWilson,

North Carolina, and are reviewing them. Any Commission decision on community broadband

issues will be made only after a full opportunity for comment by all interested parties in an open

proceeding and a careful analysis ofthe specific factual, policy, and legal issues involved. I

image12-00.jpg612x792

Page 2-The Honorable Amy Klobuchar

respect the important role of state governments in our federal system, but I know that state laws

that directly conflict with critical federal laws and policy may be subject to preemption in

appropriate circumstances. I recognize that federal preemption is not a step to be taken lightly

without a careful consideration of all relevant legal and policy issues.

Thank you for your leadership on these crucial issues. Your views are very important

and will be included as part ofthe Commission's review. Please let me know ifl can be of any

further assistance.

Tom Wheeler

image13-00.jpg612x792

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

WASHINGTON

OFFICE OF

August 11, 2014

THE CHAIRMAN

The Honorable Edward J. Markey

United States Senate

218 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Markey:

Thank you for your letter concerning the urgent need for deployment of advanced

broadband networks in order to ensure our nation's future. I greatly appreciate your leadership

on this vital issue. I wholeheartedly agree with you that high quality broadband will play a

crucial role in our country's growth and prosperity in the years to come.

Broadband is a powerful platform that encourages economic growth and facilitates

improvements in education, health care, public safety, and other key policy areas. This is

particularly true for small and rural communities, where the availability of high quality

broadband can be the difference between a future of growth and innovation or economic decline.

Private sector incumbent telephone and cable companies have invested billions of dollars

in broadband deployment in the past decade. That investment has been of great benefit to our

nation in many ways. However, that investment has not yet reached every corner of America.

Around the country, communities have focused on the importance of ensuring that they receive

the benefits of broadband, and some have concluded that investing in their own broadband

efforts will provide more competition -

along with the economic and social benefits that

accompany competition -

for their residents and businesses.

At the same time, many states have enacted laws that place a range of restrictions on

communities' ability to invest in their own future. There is reason to believe that these laws have

the effect of limiting competition in those areas, contrary to almost two decades of bipartisan

federal communications policy that is focused on encouraging competition.

I am heartened by your support for community broadband and your recognition of the

vital importance of robust broadband to our country as a whole and to smaller communities in

particular. As you note, "it was the intent behind the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to

eliminate barriers to entry into the broadband market and promote competition in order to

stimulate more innovation and consumer choice."

We have received the petitions filed by EPB ofChattanooga,TN, and the City of Wilson,

North Carolina, and are reviewing them. Any Commission decision on community broadband

issues will be made only after a full opportunity for comment by all interested parties in an open

image14-00.jpg612x792

Page 2-

The Honorable Edward 1. Markey

proceeding and a careful analysis ofthe specific factual, policy, and legal issues involved. I

respect the important role of state governments in our federal system, but I know that state laws

that directly conflict with critical federal laws and policy may be subject to preemption in

appropriate circumstances. I recognize that federal preemption is not a step to be taken lightly

without a careful consideration of all relevant legal and policy issues.

Thank you for your leadership on these crucial issues. Your views are very important

and will be included as part ofthe Commission's review. Please let me know ifl can be of any

further assistance.

Tom Wheeler

image15-00.jpg612x792

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

WASHINGTON

OFFICE OF

August 11, 2014

THE CHAIRMAN

The Honorable Henry Waxman

U.S. House ofRepresentatives

2204 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Congressman Waxman:

Thank you for your letter concerning the urgent need for deployment of advanced

broadband networks in order to ensure our nation's future. I greatly appreciate your leadership

on this vital issue. I wholeheartedly agree with you that high quality broadband will play a

crucial role in our country' s growth and prosperity in the years to come.

Broadband is a powerful platform that encourages economic growth and facilitates

improvements in education, health care, public safety, and other key policy areas. This is

particularly true for small and rural communities, where the availability of high quality

broadband can be the difference between a future of growth and innovation or economic decline.

Private sector incumbent telephone and cable companies have invested billions of dollars

in broadband deployment in the past decade. That investment has been of great benefit to our

nation in many ways. However, that investment has not yet reached every corner of America.

Around the country, communities have focused on the importance of ensuring that they receive

the benefits of broadband, and some have concluded that investing in their own broadband

efforts will provide more competition -

along with the economic and social benefits that

accompany competition -

for their residents and businesses.

At the same time, many states have enacted laws that place a range of restrictions on

communities' ability to invest in their own future. There is reason to believe that these laws have

the effect of limiting competition in those areas, contrary to almost two decades of bipartisan

federal communications policy that is focused on encouraging competition.

I am heartened by your support for community broadband and your recognition of the

vital importance of robust broadband to our country as a whole and to smaller communities in

particular. As you note, "it was the intent behind the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to

eliminate barriers to entry into the broadband market and promote competition in order to

stimulate more innovation and consumer choice."

We have received the petitions filed by EPB ofChattanooga,TN, and the City of Wilson,

North Carolina, and are reviewing them. Any Commission decision on community broadband

issues will be made only after a full opportunity for comment by all interested parties in an open

proceeding and a careful analysis of the specific factual, policy, and legal issues involved. I

image16-00.jpg612x792

Page 2-The Honorable Henry Waxman

respect the important role of state governments in our federal system, but I know that state laws

that directly conflict with critical federal laws and policy may be subject to preemption in

appropriate circumstances. I recognize that federal preemption is not a step to be taken lightly

without a careful consideration of all relevant legal and policy issues.

Thank you for your leadership on these crucial issues. Your views are very important

and will be included as part ofthe Commission's review. Please let me know ifl can be of any

further assistance.

Sincerely,

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