Appeals court ruling halts EPB's broadband expansion plans

Rich Carpenter, manager of network operations for EPB, uses a Fi TV video monitoring station while at the "Head End" room that houses the heart of EPB's fiber network.

A U.S. appeals has court struck down the FCC's 2015 order that would have allowed EPB to expand its broadband offerings beyond its traditional service area.

The ruling likely means that EPB won't be able to expand beyond the legal boundaries that define its electric service area unless allowed by Tennessee's legislature.

However, an effort by Tennessee Rep. Kevin Brooks to allow a "demonstration project" of municipal broadband expansion in the Volunteer State was scuttled in March, when it was killed by a the House Business and Utilities Subcommittee on a 5-3 vote.

* In its decision, the court wrote:

"The FCC order essentially serves to re-allocate decision-making power between the states and their municipalities. This is shown by the fact that no federal statute or FCC regulation requires the municipalities to expand or otherwise to act in contravention of the preempted state statutory provisions.