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Federal Government

Posted on: October 12, 2023

Urge Congress to Oppose Local Franchise Authority Legislation

Working with our federal partner, the National League of Cities, the League urges you to reach out to your Member of Congress and oppose H.R. 3557.  

Please read NLC’s recent blog post for more information, as well as the joint letter from NLC, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Association of Counties, and National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors. 

This legislation deprives citizens and their local governments of the ability to preserve property rights and maintain public safety. Even more so, the proposals included in the legislation have been adopted by some states that were recently identified in the Federal Communications Commission’s Broadband Maps as having the most unserved households in America, thus failing to deliver the benefits proponents of H.R. 3557 claim the legislation would provide. In addition to the talking points below, you can reach your Member of Congress with NLC’s calling tool to tell your member that: 

  • You should OPPOSE H.R. 3557. This bill will preempt important local authority while offering no improvement in broadband service to our communities. 
  • Local governments are just as, if not more, eager as Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to have quality broadband infrastructure deployed throughout their communities.  
  • Local permitting and cable franchising processes are intended to make sure that this infrastructure is deployed in the public interest, that work is done safely, and in a way that protects valuable public resources, including the rights of way. Local governments are the stewards of these finite public resources. 
  • We have no evidence that heavy-handed preemptive federal mandates, such as harsh permitting shot clocks or restrictions on permitting fee arrangements or cable franchises, have expedited the deployment of broadband infrastructure. 
  • It is inappropriate for Congress to apply harsher timelines and restrictions on local governments for these processes than it does on federal agencies. 
  • We ask that Congress treat local governments as partners in the effort to close the digital divide, not enemies. That means respecting processes that are best managed at the level of government closest and most responsive to the people.

 Contact: Paul Penna, Senior Legislative Analyst, ppenna@njlm.org, 609-695-3481, x110.


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