The Federal Communications Commission is moving forward with a plan to encourage cities to provide high-speed Internet service to their residents.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler recommended to the other commissioners on Monday that they overturn laws in two states that restrict local governments from building their own broadband projects. A final vote is set for Feb. 26, the same day the agency is expected to consider controversial net-neutrality regulations.
"Many communities have found that existing private-sector broadband deployment or investment fails to meet their needs," Wheeler said in a statement. "They should be able to make their own decisions about building the networks they need to thrive."
Chattanooga, Tenn., and Wilson, N.C., filed petitions last year asking the FCC to overturn their states' laws on local broadband. Both cities are currently providing Internet service, but the state laws prevent them from expanding the projects to more residents.
Last month, President Obama encouraged the FCC to grant the petitions and strike down the state laws.
"In too many place across America, some big companies are doing everything they can to keep out competitors. Today in 19 states, we've got laws on the books that stamp out competition and make it really difficult for communities to provide their own broadband the way you guys are," Obama said in a speech in Cedar Falls, Iowa, which also has its own broadband service. "So today, I'm saying we're going to change that. Enough is enough."