Senator Feinstein on Muni WiFI
I wrote to my senator (I hope you did too) about the importance of allowing municipalities to manage their own futures with respect to broadband and WiFi initiatives. After a few weeks delay I received the reply attached below. I have phoned the number at the end of the email as well as sending a follow up email asking a simple question that I hope Senator Feinstein can answer -- what is her position on this issue? Is that too much to ask?
Email from Senator Feinstein:
March 16, 2006
Mr. Edward Shelton
xxx xxx Avenue
xx, California xxx
Dear Mr. Shelton:
Thank you for writing to me with your concerns about prohibiting local governments from providing high-speed Internet services, or broadband. I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.
To encourage competition among providers of telecommunications services, Congress passed legislation in 1996 which barred states from "prohibiting the ability of any entity to provide any interstate or intrastate telecommunications services." However, in recent years, some states have passed laws which prohibit or limit local governments from providing telecommunications services. Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that current law is not specific enough to protect both private and public entities from the prohibition, but that Congress could do so by amending the language of the law.
Legislation has been introduced in the Senate which would specifically permit governments to provide broadband services. However, competing legislation in the House would prevent state and local governments from providing telecommunications services and cable in any area which already has similar service provided by a private sector company.
The demand for broadband services for private and public sector use is only going to increase in the coming years, and Congress is reviewing our telecommunications laws to see where improvements can be made. Please know that, as legislation is developed, I will be sure to keep your views in mind.
Again, thank you for writing. If you should have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact my Washington, DC staff at (202) 224-3841.
United States Senator
Further information about my position on issues of concern to California and the Nation are available at my website http://feinstein.senate.gov. You can also receive electronic e-mail updates by subscribing to my e-mail list at http://feinstein.senate.gov/issue.html.