A group representing state legislatures is threatening to sue to protect restrictions on city-run Internet networks, claiming the projects often waste taxpayer money.
The National Conference of State Legislatures sent a letter Tuesday to the Federal Communications Commission, saying it would file a constitutional challenge against any federal action to preempt state laws limiting municipal broadband.
"Aside from the constitutional challenges, such an attempt disregards the countless hours of deliberation and votes cast by locally elected lawmakers across the country and supplants it with the impulses of a five-member appointed body in Washington, D.C.," the group wrote.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has said he may strike down state laws that restrict the ability of cities to build their own Internet networks. Such laws stifle competition and often leave consumers with slower Internet access, Wheeler claims.
In a blog post last month, Wheeler argued that local governments "shouldn't be stopped by state laws promoted by cable and telephone companies that don't want that competition."
Telecom and cable companies have been lobbying for the state restrictions around the country, arguing that it's not fair for them to compete with government-owned Internet providers. The companies claim the city projects discourage private investment and are often expensive failures.