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FCC Warned Not To Take Actions a Republican-Led FCC Would Dislike 338

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-wouldn't-like-me-whn-I'm-angry dept.
tlhIngan writes Municipal broadband is in the news again — this time Chief of Staff Matthew Berry, speaking at the National Conference of State Legislatures, has endorsed states' right to ban municipal broadband networks and warned the (Democrat-led) FCC to not do anything that a future Republican led FCC would dislike. The argument is that municipal broadband discourages private investment in broadband communications, that taxpayer-funded projects are barriers to future infrastructure investment.
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FCC Warned Not To Take Actions a Republican-Led FCC Would Dislike

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  • Correction: (Score:5, Informative)

    by Type44Q (1233630) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @07:16PM (#47724749)

    this time Chief of Staff Matthew Berry, speaking at the National Conference of State Legislatures, has endorsed states' right to ban municipal broadband networks

    He's endorsed the right of the people in each state to get bent over by massively-corrupt telcos with their monopolistic behaviors - by reinforcing their monopolies - all in the name of a free market (despite the fact that it's anything but).

    FTFY.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In other words, he's being a Republican.

      • Re:Correction: (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Chas (5144) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @07:41PM (#47724917) Homepage Journal

        In other words, he's being a Republican.

        No you jackass. He's being a politician.

        Republican, Democrat, WHATEVER, they're all saying the same thing to you (whatever they think will make you vote for them) now, and doing whatever the fuck they can to maximize benefit to their personal pocket book later.

        If you think this is somehow mitigated by party affiliation, you REALLY need to stop abusing your prescriptions and hike your way out of fantasy land.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by NatasRevol (731260)

          Republicans are just a bit more blatant about it because it appeals to their idiot constituency.

        • by mbone (558574)

          If you think this is somehow mitigated by party affiliation, you REALLY need to stop abusing your prescriptions and hike your way out of fantasy land.

          If you truly believe that, you have seriously not been paying attention these last 45 years.

        • Re:Correction: (Score:5, Informative)

          by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Friday August 22, 2014 @01:12AM (#47726427) Homepage Journal

          Nope.
          Over the last 14 years, the Pubs have been bent on openly doing anything they can to hand everything over to larger corporation. It really start with Reagan, but this millennium they just blatantly lie, and when they get called out their media machine just spreads more lies until people with believe it or the next artificial pub 'controversy' comes up.

          Don't talk about the dems as if it's balances. Both have issues, but the pubs have become far worse. The are basically extremist at this point.

          You have bought into the the trap the pubs have created. 'Both do the same thing to the same degree therefor it doesn't matter.'

          And don't even try to guess how I vote. OTOH, I actual watch CSPAN, read bills, and find the context for any statement a politician make that is reported in the media.
          Sound bite manipulation needs to stop.

    • Re:Correction: (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Trailer Trash (60756) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @07:42PM (#47724929) Homepage

      this time Chief of Staff Matthew Berry, speaking at the National Conference of State Legislatures, has endorsed states' right to ban municipal broadband networks

      He's endorsed the right of the people in each state to get bent over by massively-corrupt telcos with their monopolistic behaviors - by reinforcing their monopolies - all in the name of a free market (despite the fact that it's anything but).

      FTFY.

      Those telcos are forced to provide service to everybody at the same price, which means they make a profit on tightly packed businesses in the city and that offsets their losses on the more widespread customers out of town. If the city comes in and serves only the tightly packed businesses, they can easily offer the service at a lower price and still make money or break even, and the telco ends up losing their profitable customers and therefore their ability to offset their losses elsewhere.

      I'm not against "municipal broadband", but they need to be held to the exact same standard as all other carriers in the same area. That might well mean offering service to out of town customers, also.

      I didn't understand the fuss until last time this came up and someone in the industry explained it quite clearly in a +5 post.

      • by silfen (3720385)

        Those telcos are forced to provide service to everybody at the same price, which means they make a profit on tightly packed businesses in the city and that offsets their losses on the more widespread customers out of town.

        It's turtles corrupt regulations all the way down! One corrupt regulation begets another!

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        This is the exact problem with the USPS - they are delivering to all the not-so-profitable rural areas for UPS, FedEx and DHL. The USPS doesn't have a choice in the matter and to boot are forced to fund their things into the future no private company could or would ever fund.

        Business people don't have a problem with the USPS arrangement. But now they have a problem when the same rules may apply to them in a negative way?

        Please.

        People argue that the reason the USPS thing is different is because 'my taxes p

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Those telcos are forced to provide service to everybody at the same price, which means they make a profit on tightly packed businesses in the city and that offsets their losses on the more widespread customers out of town.

        That is simply not true. Just look at all the places where verizon has done piss-poor job of rolling out FIOS. All the ISP's have cherry-picked their neighborhoods. DSL even inherently varies in service quality based on the distance to the CO but they still charge customers the same price because they price the service in maximum bitrates not minimum guaranteed bitrates.

      • by Ichijo (607641)

        Those telcos are forced to provide service to everybody at the same price, which means they make a profit on tightly packed businesses in the city and that offsets their losses on the more widespread customers out of town.

        Subsidies like this for suburban and rural residents is why we have sprawl.

        I wouldn't mind paying $10 per gallon of milk in exchange for lower taxes and lower utility costs. (Especially because I'm lactose intolerant!)

      • Re:Correction: (Score:5, Informative)

        by mellon (7048) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @08:27PM (#47725207) Homepage

        What? No they aren't. This isn't telephone service—it's internet service. There are no regulations requiring them to provide service out in the boondocks. Indeed, Verizon and AT&T received massive government subsidies to expand broadband service to rural customers, and then just decided not to do it and kept the money.

        When I lived in rural southeastern Arizona, I got my DSL service from Valley Telecom, a local customer-owned cooperative that provides internet service, telephone and cellular to the poorly served areas of that rather sparsely populated corner of the state. I had 1.5mbps DSL in 2006 10 miles up a dirt road outside of Bowie, Arizona, pop. 300, for a very reasonable price, and VTC was doing just fine financially. It was a bit cheaper than my current service from Comcast, but that's precisely because Comcast only serves the areas where it can make a profit.

        Meanwhile, back in Verizon territory, my mom, who is on the selectboard of her town (pop. 1200, small but much more dense than Bowie) could not get any kind of broadband in 2006, and the town wound up having to set up their own municipal broadband wireless service using Motorola Canopy radios and a microwave link to Mt. Tom because that's the only way they could avoid a massive drop in property values due to the lack of this essential service in the town, despite the fact that Verizon had been receiving money to pay for installing broadband to towns just like hers for the previous decade.

        So maybe some shill from a cable company told you all about how supporting rural customers is why their service is so expensive, but that's a complete load of bullshit. Local and state governments don't currently have authority to impose regulations of this type on ISPs.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Those telcos are forced to provide service to everybody at the same price

        There's something fishy about this, because every time a story comes up on /. about a telco trying to block a municipality from rolling its own fiber, you can always track the municipality's decision back to the telco refusing to roll out fiber themselves.

    • A government telco isn't a monopoly?
  • In other words... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jtgd (807477) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @07:16PM (#47724751)
    "Don't you dare serve the people, you shall only serve the corporations!"
  • Infurstuctsure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pellik (193063) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @07:16PM (#47724755)
    While they're at it state and federal funded roads compete unfairly with privately funded toll roads. Better do something about that.
    • by dpilot (134227)

      Maybe there's another reason that our infrastructure is crumbling...

      (Line up the conspiracy theories.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        removing funding and then say it doesn't work then turn it over to corporations.
        It's not a conspiracy when there are a myriad examples of pubs doing it.

        Choking the beast.

    • In Texas they already are. All new highways in Texas will be toll roads. [mysanantonio.com]TXDOT is making sweetheart public private partnerships (read fascist) with construction companies like cintra with half century long long land leases and government bailouts for guaranteed profit! People in my area are going to freak out when they receive their flex rate toll bills for all of the new roads they are building.
      • In principal there is nothing wrong with a PPP (public, private, partnership) structure to build infrastructure. It is a way for a government to get infrastructure built that it otherwise wouldn't be able to afford. But the devil is in the detail. Why would there be a government guarantee of profitability is a big question. Right to toll is a pretty standard option for a long period of time 20 - 50 years. But if you screw up your traffic forecasts or you go over budget on the build well that is your pr

    • by sumdumass (711423)

      You mean the one thing the federal government does that it is constitutionally empowered to do is the one thing you are wanting to single out as your example?

      Wow..

  • By that logic... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 21, 2014 @07:16PM (#47724757)

    A republican FCC shouldn't do anything a democratic one won't like either. Unless they enjoy being hypocrites.

    • by hey! (33014)

      A republican FCC shouldn't do anything a democratic one won't like either. Unless they enjoy being hypocrites.

      And your point would be?

    • by bobbied (2522392)

      A republican FCC shouldn't do anything a democratic one won't like either. Unless they enjoy being hypocrites.

      What ever the democratic appointees do, they do. They got appointed, it's their call. If they want to be partisan, so be it.

      The really sad thing is that the FCC commissioners used to be about sensible regulation and doing what's right for all, now it's who's paying who under the table and which campaign got money from which company.

      Have we learned nothing from the Light Squared debacle? That whole thing was such a boondoggle technically, but no, the FCC had to string all that along. Stuff like that need

    • by Livius (318358)

      They enjoy being hypocrites.

    • When it comes to granting new powers to the government , that's exactly right. Republicans have been saying tat for decades and Bysh Jr was criticized for taking on new powers, because any new power he assumed would be inherited by Obama or whoever came next.

      Looking at poll numbers, Jeb Bush us likely to be elected president in two years. How much power do you want Jeb Bush to have? Any powers you grant Obama will be inherited by J Bush.

  • by Mystiq (101361) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @07:17PM (#47724763)
    So according to this guy, we should never make laws or decisions that don't have complete bi-partisan support because the other side will try to repeal it. How would anything get done? At that, we wouldn't have any laws at all. Did he even listen to what he said?

    I swear, man. Congresscritters sound more like whiny children every day. This is the epitome of politicians' refusal to compromise on anything. The general intelligence of people in politics must steadily be dropping. They better stay where they are because they sure can't do anything else.
    • by silfen (3720385)

      So according to this guy, we should never make laws or decisions that don't have complete bi-partisan support

      If it was Congress voting on it, that would be fine. But isn't about lawmaking, it's about the FCC using its regulatory powers to limit what laws states can pass, laws that have little to do with the FCC's original mission. Yes, regulatory agencies overriding state legislatures is a serious problem.

      And this warning may not be just a warning to undo FCC regulations. At some point, Congress and voters

    • by raymorris (2726007) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @08:19PM (#47725157)

      No, he didn't say everything needs to have bipartisan support. He said that if the FCC assumes a NEW power, the power to override state law and ban or require municipal broadband, the FCC will still have that power when Jeb Bush is president. If you decide that the FCC can choose whether or not muni is built, a different FCC chairman would inherit that power and could ban municipal broadband. Don't assume new powers for yourself if you don't want your successor to have the same power.

      That's something I keep in mind. If Palin were president, would I want her administration running the health care industry? If not, I should oppose government run healthcare because we WILL have a president as bad as Palin at some point. Maybe in 2016, maybe in teo years, maybe in six years, maybe in ten years. We will have a horrible president. How much control do I want that crappy president to have over my life?

    • by sumdumass (711423)

      So according to this guy, we should never make laws or decisions that don't have complete bi-partisan support because the other side will try to repeal it. How would anything get done? At that, we wouldn't have any laws at all. Did he even listen to what he said?

      Well, no. The FCC does not make laws, it makes regulation with the force of laws without congress voting on all the regulations. What he is saying is that whatever they do, a republican chairperson can undo. Don't bother with extreme partisan hacks

  • by Rigel47 (2991727) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @07:19PM (#47724767)

    "It’s not hard, then, to imagine a future FCC concluding that taxpayer-funded, municipal broadband projects themselves are barriers to infrastructure investment.

    Right, because we've all done so well under the monopoly of Comcast et al. If the private sector can't compete (*cough*strong arm a monopoly*cough*) versus a municipal project then golly-gee maybe there's a lesson to be learned. Not that I expect an evidently corrupt bureaucrat to fathom said lesson.

    • by raymorris (2726007) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @08:09PM (#47725103)

      You seem to have completely missed his point, so let me break that long sentence into four short sentences for you:

      The is FCC deciding if it has the (unconstitutional) power to decide whether or not municipal broadband is built, disregarding state law.
      If the FCC assumes that power, a future FCC chairman would therefore have the power to ban municipal broadband.
      That would be bad.
      Therefore, don't assume new powers that you wouldn't want your successor to have.

      I'm not sure if I agree in this case. I do agree with the general principle- if you acquiesce to Obama assuming new powers, president Jeb Bush will inherit those new powers in a couple years.

  • Full of it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "The argument is that municipal broadband discourages private investment in broadband communications, that taxpayer-funded projects are barriers to future infrastructure investment."

    "Private investment", notably the quite-intentional lack of it, was the barrier to future infrastructure investment, hence the entire raison d'être of municipal broadband in the first place.

    Bitch and moan about the stifling of private business opportunities when you actually have a business plan concerning that locale beyon

    • The argument is that municipal broadband discourages private investment in broadband communications, that taxpayer-funded projects are barriers to future infrastructure investment.

      What do they think tax credits are? Before either the telco or the cable company would expand broadband service into the outer neighborhoods where I live, the city had to give the telco and cable companies a huge, many year tax credit - many times what the companies own people claimed the cost of equipment upgrades.

    • I also don't really understand the thought process as to how it would be a barrier to infrastructure. I kinda thought a major part of a governments role was to build infrastructure the private sector wasn't. If there is a push for a municipal level rollout then the private sector has failed in that case. Surely the logical thing is for the municipal to roll out the fibre and then, once in place, sell it to the private sector. That way you get your infrastructure, you get a ROI, you get competition for s

    • in broadband communications? Hoarding profits to buy out competitors, NBC, and politicians. Why invest in improving service for your captive customers when you can invest in takeovers and bribes?
  • [March 2014] Speaking at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet & Telecom Conference, [Verizon CFO] Shammo said the company would not consider other markets until it generates more cash within the wireline business.

    "I am not going to build beyond the current LSAs (local service acquisitions) that we have built out," Shammo said. "We have to generate more cash within the wireline business and once we do that and I feel that FiOS has returned its cost of capital, then we can look at expansion, but at this point we're happy with what we have."

    These are the same people that are allowing their copper network to rot out in order to push people onto FiOS.

    Why should we-the-people have to wait for a conglomerate to make the business case for bringing service to our communities?
    Especially if we can do it now.

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Why should we-the-people have to wait for a conglomerate to make the business case for bringing service to our communities?

      Dear god, man, are you suggesting a consortium of taxpayers decide to compete with a corporation, and take away stock holder value and threaten executive bonuses in order to get better service and introduce competition is a good thing??

      Are you some kind of communist bastard?

      The corporations are entitled to ridiculous profits without having to work to preserve market share, to suggest an

    • The rotting out of Verizon's wires is much more likely to push people to non-Verizon services given how little of the US FIOS covers.

      For me all it did was cause me to drop Verizon completely and switch to T Mobile.

  • And simply say "For us to be concerned about a Republican FCC, we would need to believe that it is possible for a Republican to win a presidential election. Given the current climate, that won't happen in your lifetime, Senator"
    • by bobbied (2522392)

      And simply say "For us to be concerned about a Republican FCC, we would need to believe that it is possible for a Republican to win a presidential election. Given the current climate, that won't happen in your lifetime, Senator"

      Don't know if I'm willing to say that yet. The current election cycle seems to be sliding towards the R side taking over the Senate, and there is little chance of them loosing seats in the house. Of course this is the out year of a lame duck president, which generally slides away from the white house's party, but the complexion of what happens totally changes if the Republicans take control in the senate.

      How that plays out in 2016 is anybodies guess, except I can tell you that the president and his party

  • We've seen this with water, gas, and electricity.

    Just run the damn wire.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @07:36PM (#47724877) Homepage Journal

    Why do they play and say talk about a "Republican led FCC" instead of just saying they don't want the FCC to do anything that might mean the least inconvenience for Comcast and AT&T's complete takeover of the Internet?

    I mean, for chrissake, Barack Obama, the marxest marxist who ever marxed, appointed goddamn Tom Wheeler, a former cable executive to be chairman of the FCC. Are they disappointed that the chairman of the FCC isn't just Brian Roberts, the CEO of Comcast?

    Fucking corporatists. They're not even trying to hide their evil agenda any more. We need another president like Taft or Teddy Roosevelt to just scare the living shit out of big corporations. It's the only way to make them behave. The Clayton Act and other anti-trust legislation ushered in the most productive and prosperous era in US history, and now these sleazy fucks want to take us all the way back to the age of robber barons where young women got burned up in shirt factory fires. Now we've got pussy-ass Barack Obama and Eric Holder who shake with fear every time a CEO so much as looks cross at them. Now, a company breaks the law and the justice department fines them with one hand and passes them the money to pay the fine with the other hand (Citicorp, Goldman Sachs, et al). Two parties, one is completely terrified of the corporatists and the other's got their nose up the corporatists ass. No, they're not the same, but the outcome is the same.

    Seriously, there needs to be a goddamn revolution in this country. I'll get behind it 100% as long as it's finished by the start of football season because I'm totally gonna take my fantasy league this year. Or maybe we can just not have the revolution on Sundays or Monday nights. Didn't they used to do that in wars? Take Sunday morning off so everyone could go to church and pray that God help them butcher the other side? Something's got to be done, I tell you. Start the revolution right now while it's still pre-season.

    At least, thank god, we get another chance in 2016. Yeah, I know, anybody who gets the nomination from either party is going to be a corporatist, but if I don't hold out some faint hope that something will change, I'll just go shoot myself, and I can't do that because, like I said, I'm going to own fantasy football this year. But, (and thank God for small favors) I won't be enriching Comcast while I do it.

    • by mbkennel (97636)
      | Are they disappointed that the chairman of the FCC isn't just Brian Roberts, the CEO of Comcast?

      Yes.

      In fact, they are disappointed that the FCC exists as a nominally independent government institution. That they have to seduce potentially reluctant regulators, instead of the regulators sucking their cable ports with enthusiasm.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 21, 2014 @07:39PM (#47724909)

    By framing the narrative this way the public can be polarized around trivial issues; divide and conquer.

    Implying that a a left-wing or democrat controlled FCC would behave differently is misleading -- they are all beholden to the same powerful business interests who play both sides so that they are certain to have the winner in their pocket.

    Warning the FCC to not do anything 'anti-republican' is just re-enforcing the imaginary division between left and right in our minds. It doesn't exist. There are only global supra-national corporations and people. Everything else is an intentional distraction.

    Besides the corrupt global monetary system, the single most important issue that has allowed us to be reduced to abject serfdom is that corporations are considered persons under the law, which is a development of the last 125 years in the US. This allows management and ownership to escape personal liability for any actions of the organization under his or her control.

    Because corps are able to vote with their huge dollars your small dollars are irrelevant -- as are your wants and needs.

    Focus on that. Thinking Left/Right is just wasting your time.

    • This and only this kind of thinking will get us out of our current, sustained political quagmire.

  • by Marble68 (746305) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @07:58PM (#47725033) Homepage

    Jesus - the hyperbolic circle jerking.. sigh.. Could we get any more f#cking stupid here?

    His point is that this should be viewed as beyond the authority of the FCC by both sides; that a bureaucratic panel doesn't have the power to tell individual states how to regulate themselves; and doing so will open a Pandora's box. He illustrates his point by citing SCOTUS precedence, and hypothesizes what sort of dramatic swings would be possible with that power.

    Everyone loves HHS - but they forget (let me make his point in a different way) the HHS could effectively slash Abortion coverage at will by simply saying Insurance can't cover it. That's what it's dangerous to give so much power to one position; especially a politically appointed one.

    Christ - His biggest mistake, apparently, is forgetting to dumb down his point and talk like everyone is 12.

    IMHO, the FCC should just declare ISPs common carriers as a start; then recommend to Congress a law that says the individual citizens have a right to assembly, even in the form of a municipality, and establish publicly held utility services.

    Then, it could go back to SCOTUS or whatever.

  • "that taxpayer-funded projects are barriers to future infrastructure investment."
     
    Yes everyone can compete in the free market,
    except for groups of geographically related people cooperating with their tax dollars. Can't have them competing.
     
    That's the last thing we want for our infrastructure. People cooperating with their votes and tax dollars.

    • by silfen (3720385)

      Yes everyone can compete in the free market, except for groups of geographically related people cooperating with their tax dollars. Can't have them competing.

      You don't quite understand what a "free market" means. A "free market" means that I choose who I give my money to for services I want to receive; companies that treat me badly don't get my money. A "free market" is not a municipal government taking my money through taxation, handing it to their business cronies, and then providing shitty service.

      And if

  • "The argument is that municipal broadband discourages private investment in broadband communications, that taxpayer-funded projects are barriers to future infrastructure investment."

    Wait, you mean that someone else doing the exact thing that the corporations have refused to do would 'discourage' the corporations from doing that very thing they've already declared they don't want to do?
    You are such a fucking ignorant tool Mr. Berry.
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @08:16PM (#47725141) Journal
    Because a city in Utah had already started a system and had it in place, they were able to lease it to Google, which Google did.
    If anything, that shows that gov. helping its citizens, and then working businesses, goes MUCH FURTHER, than allowing large business monopolies.
  • So now Slashbots are hyperventilating with hatred at hypothetical Republicans?

    You really need to get a life.

  • So now the democrats need to warn the FCC not to take actions that might offend future democrats. After that the very, very pissed off left might want to warn the FCC that if anything is done that they don't like they will eat your babies for breakfast from the skulls of republicans. Threats should not exist at any level regardless of how quietly they are made.
  • by tomhath (637240) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @08:54PM (#47725339)

    In a speech in front of the National Conference of State Legislatures, Berry endorsed states' rights

    Inflammatory headline aside, that's pretty much the way Republicans think the country should be run. Let States govern themselves, Fed should stay out unless the issue crosses state lines.

  • by PPH (736903) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @10:04PM (#47725647)

    ... and no investments were made. Business had its chance to shit or get off the pot. And we didn't get shit. So now it looks like municipal investment or nothing.

    If the GOP is intent on stopping that, then I guess we should say that the GOP is a barrier to future infrastructure investment. And the solution is to prevent a Republican led anything.

  • The important bit (Score:5, Informative)

    by BillX (307153) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @10:46PM (#47725897) Homepage

    This has nothing to do with "banning municipal broadband" today, and everything to do with not granting a power at the Fed level that would let a future FCC in 1-2 election cycles do exactly that.

    FTFA:

    "If the history of American politics teaches us anything, it is that one political party will not remain in power for perpetuity. At some point, to quote Sam Cooke, 'a change is gonna come,'" Berry said. "And that change could come a little more than two years from now. So those who are potential supporters of the current FCC interpreting Section 706 [of the Telecommunications Act] to give the Commission the authority to preempt state laws about municipal broadband should think long and hard about what a future FCC might do with that power."

    Arguing that municipal broadband networks could discourage investment by private companies, Berry said, "Itâ(TM)s not hard, then, to imagine a future FCC concluding that taxpayer-funded, municipal broadband projects themselves are barriers to infrastructure investment. So if the current FCC were successful in preempting state and local laws under Section 706, what would stop a future FCC from using Section 706 to forbid states and localities from constructing any future broadband projects? Nothing that I can see."

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