House Democrats, Senate Republicans Gang Up On FCC Over Net Neutrality


Seventy-four Congressional Democrats and 37 Senate Republicans on Monday signed penned two separate letters to Julius Genachowski, chairman of the FCC, asking him to abandon plans to reclassify broadband Internet access.

The letters were written in response to the FCC’s decision earlier this month to regulate different forms of Internet access in different ways, paving the way to classify the transmission component of broadband access service as a telecommunications service, a move that would bring it under the commission’s Title II regulatory purview for broadband.

The letters were posted Monday on the Website.

In the Congressional Democrats’ letter, the 74 Congressmen said that annual investments of $60 billion in broadband industry infrastructure over the past several years have brought high-speed Internet connections to 95 percent of U.S. homes.

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However, they wrote, there is much yet to do to bring robust broadband access to the entire country. Citing the National Broadband Plan, the Congressmen said as much as $350 billion in investment by private companies is still needed, and that such an investment requires a continued commitment to a stable regulatory environment.

“The significant regulatory impact of reclassifying broadband service is not something that should be taken lightly and should not be done without additional direction from Congress,” they wrote.

In the letter from the Senate Republicans, the 37 Senators wrote that the FCC is seeking a major shift in policy by imposing “burdensome” regulations on broadband services.

The Senators further accused the FCC of relying on the “unsubstantiated fear” that there is a lack of competition among broadband service providers, and that those providers may someday harm consumers.

“There is scant evidence that the broadband market lacks competition or that consumers have been harmed in a manner that would warrant the heavy-handed 19th century regulations that you seek to impose on a highly competitive 21st century communications marketplace,” the Senators wrote.