Communications and IT Paper: Evolving Federal Communications Policies

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This Paper, written by Chérie R. Kiser for Law Seminars International, Local Broadband Regulation & Deployment, February 22-23, 2007, examines how recent rulings and policies adopted by the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") governing broadband services affect local governments, municipalities, and state public utility commissions. Many of the FCC's decisions and policies limit existing state and local government authority to regulate broadband services offered by wireline telecommunications providers and cable operators. Further, this paper looks at how the resolution of pending FCC rulings may further impinge on local government authority. The FCC appears poised to continue limiting states' authority over broadband services provided by wireline telecommunications carriers and cable providers as part of its effort "to create a regulatory environment that promotes broadband deployment" and removes "legacy regulations, like tariffs and price controls, that discourage carriers from investing in their broadband networks." The importance of these issues to states and local municipalities is highlighted by the National League of Cities announcement that telecommunications issues top its federal lobbying agenda for 2007.

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