House Republicans sent a strongly-worded letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski today asking him to back down from a proposal to reclassify broadband Internet services under Title II of the Communications Act.
The letter, signed by 171 of the 177 Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives, questions the legality of the FCC’s proposed reclassification and argues that the matter should be left to congress. An unofficial copy of the letter was leaked earlier this week by Free Press.
“We write to encourage you not to proceed down your announced path to reclassify broadband service and a phone service under Title II of the Communications Act,” wrote lawmakers Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas), who authored the letter. “Such a significant interpretive change to the Communications Act should be made by Congress.”
The letter joins a missive from Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas) and more than 70 House Democrats sent to Genachowski earlier this week which voiced similar concerns.
“During this uncertain period of litigation, capital investment will undoubtedly be drastically reduced, if not halted, effectively ceasing the improvement and expansion of access to the unserved and underserved areas of the country,” Green wrote.
Both Democrats and Republicans appear wary of the possible economic ramifications of increased regulation of the broadband industry. The FCC has been a major proponent of broadband, as evidenced by the ambitious build-out schemes recommended in its National Broadband Plan, but lawmakers worry increased regulation could stymie investment in what is regarded as an economic growth engine.
Filed Under: Industry regulations