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Tennessee's attorney general wants a federal appeals court to set aside a recent decision by the Federal Communications Commission to allow cities like Chattanooga to offer municipal broadband beyond their normal service area.

State Attorney General Herbert Slatery said in the filing with the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the FCC had "unlawfully inserted itself between the state of Tennessee and the state's own subdivisions."

Slatery had been among several prominent Tennessee Republicans who had urged the FCC not to override a state law that blocks Chattanooga's electric utility from expanding its super-fast Internet network to surrounding areas. Other letter writers included Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and the state House and Senate speakers.

The FCC nevertheless voted 3-2 last month in favor of the utilities in Chattanooga and Wilson, North Carolina. President Barack Obama had pushed for the FCC's decision, saying the state laws stifled competition and economic development.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who voted with the majority, said at the time that some states have created "thickets of red tape designed to limit competition." The ruling was opposed by the commission's two Republican members, who argued it was outside the panel's authority, violated states' rights and undermined private enterprise.


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