(Alexandria, VA) – In advance of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) February 26 vote on whether to allow municipal broadband networks in Wilson, NC and Chattanooga, TN to expand beyond their legal boundaries, National Taxpayers Union (NTU) President Pete Sepp offered the following statement urging caution:
“The Federal Communications Commission has an important opportunity this coming Thursday to stand up for taxpayers in North Carolina and Tennessee. We urge members of the FCC to vote against Wilson’s and Chattanooga’s petitions, which would overturn municipal broadband laws in their state, and allow these cities to expand their costly municipal broadband networks beyond their current boundaries.
“Throughout the month of February, NTU highlighted on its website numerous examples of failed municipal broadband networks (ntu.org/febfails). From Oregon to Florida, Utah to Vermont, hard-working resident have suffered – paying higher taxes or bearing the burden of lower debt ratings – when their local leaders decided to enter the broadband market.
“The networks in Chattanooga and Wilson, along with municipal broadband networks in many other U.S. cities, are often a waste of taxpayer money because they duplicate competitive service already offered by the private sector – or worse, offer deals that few consumers want. Why do taxpayers have to take on more debt to pay for these networks when they’ve not been proven to provide better, or more affordable, service?
“North Carolina and Tennessee’s laws do not prevent government-owned broadband networks in areas where there is a real need. They merely put responsible limits on the growth of these networks so taxpayers aren’t needlessly put at risk. For this reason, the FCC should vote to uphold these laws.”
National Taxpayers Union, “The Voice of America’s Taxpayers”, is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom at all levels. More information on NTU’s work is available at www.ntu.org.