U.S. Senate Republican leaders, including Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), Conference Chairman and Ranking Member of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee John Thune (R-South Dakota), Policy Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), Conference Vice Chairman Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), and National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), today sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler urging the Commission to abandon any efforts to impose so-called “net neutrality” regulations on the Internet.
In their letter, the senators underscore the “politically corrosive” nature of the FCC’s contemplated regulations, and urge the FCC to reject calls to impose Title II regulations on “the nation’s competitive and dynamic broadband economy.” The letter highlights the danger to the Internet of treating it as a government-regulated utility.
The Senate leaders say, “Rather than attempting further legal contortions to encumber modern communications networks with last century’s rules, the Commission should work with the Congress to develop clear statutory authority and direction for the agency so that it can be a productive regulator for the 21st century marketplace.”
The full leadership letter is included below.
May 13, 2014
The Honorable Thomas Wheeler
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
Dear Chairman Wheeler:
We write to reiterate our strong concerns with any proposal that would have the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) apply monopoly-era Title II regulations to our nation’s competitive and dynamic broadband economy.
The growth of the Internet and the rapid adoption of mobile technology have been great American success stories, made possible by a light regulatory touch for the entire online ecosystem. This approach has freed Internet innovators and users at the edge, the core, and the last mile to offer services, to build networks, and to buy and sell products based on market demand; no government permission has been necessary.
Imposing common carrier-style regulation upon any part of the Internet would be a dangerous rejection of this successful policy course, potentially impeding the development and adoption of new Internet technologies and services, and threatening future investment in next-generation broadband infrastructure.
The courts have twice struck down ill-advised and unauthorized attempts by the FCC to regulate the Internet. Unfortunately, you have chosen to have the FCC again undertake a politically corrosive rulemaking, relying upon new and untested court-defined powers rather than upon clear Congressional intent and statutory authority.
Of even greater concern would be using Title II of the Communications Act to regulate broadband, which some voices have called for in recent days. So-called “net neutrality” restrictions are unnecessary, but using Title II reclassification to impose them would create tremendous legal and marketplace uncertainty and would undermine your ability to effectively lead the FCC.Rather than attempting further legal contortions to encumber modern communications networks with last century’s rules, the Commission should work with the Congress to develop clear statutory authority and direction for the agency so that it can be a productive regulator for the 21st century marketplace. If the Commission will not do that, we urge it to reject new “net neutrality” regulations, particularly any which rely upon Title II.