Broadband Group: Preempting SF Small Cell Ordinance Would Cut Competition

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In 2016, San Francisco, one of Next Century Cities’ member communities, created an ordinance for small cells and DAS to ensure that those who live in multi-dwelling units (MDUs) have access to multiple internet service providers. The FCC is considering a proposed rulemaking that would preempt this ordinance, and prevent any other municipality from pursuing a similar solution, according to the group.

The non-profit Next Century Cities was formed to support communities and their elected leaders, as they seek to ensure that all have access to fast, affordable, and reliable internet access. 

The group says the San Francisco ordinance encourages competition among MDUs, which often strike exclusive marketing agreements with incumbent carriers and cablecos.  

San Francisco’s ordinance prevents landlords from blocking a service provider’s access to a physical building, and also allows landlords, “just and reasonable compensation” to defray any costs from providers installing their equipment. Next Century Cities welcomes FCC action to improve policy in pursuit of increased broadband competition. 

But it believes preempting San Francisco’s solution works against this goal. “Instead, federal regulators should take the opportunity to learn from successful local solutions and be a partner in improving the broadband landscape,” says the group, which wants the agency to allow San Francisco’s ordinance to remain in effect. Next Century Cities also wants the Commission to empower municipalities to pursue local solutions that improve access to broadband in their communities.

July 3, 2019

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