Originally published: May 31, 2010
Last updated: May 31, 2010 - 1:55pm
Nearly every Republican member of the House signed a letter to the Federal Communications Commission protesting a plan to redefine broadband Internet access as a telecommunications service.
The FCC plans to start reviewing that plan at its June 17 meeting. The letter sent to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski on May 28, urged the agency to instead to leave it up to Congress to deal with the agency's quagmire over its authority to regulate broadband service providers.
"The FCC concluded on a number of occasions, under both Democrat- and Republican-led commissions, that broadband is not a telecommunications service but an information service outside the reach of the Title II common carrier rules," the lawmakers wrote. Reps. Joe Barton (R-TX), ranking member of the commerce committee, and Cliff Stearns (R-FL), ranking member of the communications subcommittee, were the lead signatures on the letter. "We write to encourage you not to proceed down your announced path to reclassify broadband service as a phone service," they wrote. "Such a significant interpretive change to the Communications Act should be made by Congress."
Public Knowledge President Gigi Sohn said, "In signing these letters, the members of Congress from both parties are signaling they would rather be captives of industry than see our country try to regain its leadership, protect consumers and defend the vitality and health of the 'innovation without permission' culture that produced today's Internet."
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