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Commissioner O’Rielly Raises Another Concern about Municipal Broadband: The ‘First Amendment’

Drew Clark

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BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: Critics of municipal involvement with broadband infrastructure will find all manner of reasons to oppose them, and this article from Motherboard elaborates on Federal Communications Commissioner Mike O'Rielly's views about the subject. This appears to be an extension of the thinking that, just as cable networks enjoyed a First Amendment right to choose their programming partners, internet infrastructure networks have that same prerogative. Of course, this flies in the face of the arguments that big ISPs have no intention of blocking or throttling content. In fact, for the "First Amendment" argument to make sense, as applied to internet networks, these ISPs would have to be championing their right to block and throttle some types of content at the expense of others.

FCC Falsely Claims Community Broadband an 'Ominous Threat to The First Amendment', from Motherboard

The Trump FCC has declared towns and cities that vote to build their own broadband networks an “ominous threat to the First Amendment.”

The claims were made last week during a speech given at the telecom-funded Media Institute by FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly. In his speech, O’Rielly insinuated, without evidence, that community owned and operated broadband networks would naturally result in local governments aggressively limiting American free speech rights.

“I would be remiss if my address omitted a discussion of a lesser-known, but particularly ominous, threat to the First Amendment in the age of the Internet: state-owned and operated broadband networks,” claimed O’Rielly.

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Source: FCC Falsely Claims Community Broadband an 'Ominous Threat to The First Amendment' - Motherboard

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