Court overturns ruling allowing municipal broadband to grow

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A federal appeals court has overturned a Federal Communications Commission ruling allowing city-owned broadband services to expand into areas overlooked by commercial providers.

The decision issued Wednesday comes as part of a dispute between the FCC and two states, Tennessee and North Carolina, about expanding superfast internet service in their respective cities of Chattanooga and Wilson to surrounding areas.

Both states had passed laws preventing such expansion. The FCC last year voted 3-2 to override those laws. The states then asked the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to review the FCC’s ruling.

The appeals court said that the FCC’s order pre-empted the state laws and “the allocation of power between a state and its subdivisions,” but the FCC does not have the authority in federal law to do so.

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