More than 40 mayors support Chattanooga broadband expansion

Authored By Chloé Morrison

More than 40 mayors and city leaders are supporting Chattanooga’s mission to expand broadband service to rural areas. 

Members of bipartisan group Next Century Cities sent letters to Mayor Andy Berke and Mayor Bruce Rose of Wilson, North Carolina-both cities that are trying to gain local control over their broadband service. 

“This letter, signed by cities large and small, serves as a reminder to state and federal lawmakers that communities must be empowered to make their own decisions regarding broadband,” Next Century Cities Executive Director Deb Socia said in a prepared statement. “We encourage all stakeholders to work together in order to protect the essential right to local self-determination for broadband nationwide.”

The 42 signers stood in solidarity with their mayoral colleagues and advocated for local self-determination on broadband solutions. Read the full letter here

The letter came in response to the recent Appellate Court decision that overruled the Federal Communication Commission’s ruling that would have allowed Chattanooga and Wilson leaders to make their own decisions about broadband access. 

In the letter, officials said they were disappointed with the recent court decision.

“As mayors and municipal leaders, we know that there is no single best solution for supporting connectivity in our communities,” the letter stated. “While our paths vary, we are united by our commitment to competition and the right of self-determination for all our communities, free from interference.”

A 2015 FCC ruling had allowed Chattanooga and Wilson to expand their networks to underserved neighboring communities, increasing citizens’ access to next-generation internet connectivity and allowing local communities to choose the broadband solutions that are right for them.

For this area, that could have meant high-speed internet access in rural parts of Hamilton County. 

“Today’s letter, signed by over 40 mayors and city leaders from across the country, shows the significant support Mayor Berke and Mayor Rose have from their colleagues in their fight for broadband choice at the local level,” Socia said.