Republican lawmakers tell FCC it can’t treat broadband as a utility

By Jon Brodkin

Republican members of the US Senate and House of Representatives are trying to convince the Federal Communications Commission that it lacks the authority to reclassify broadband as a utility.

In a letter yesterday to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, the lawmakers claimed that classifying broadband as a utility “under Title II of the Communications Act to create legally enforceable rules to regulate Internet access… is beyond the scope of the FCC’s authority and would defy the plain reading of the statute… Put simply, reclassification would require the Commission to find that Internet access is a telecommunications service, not an information service. These are not matters of opinion but distinctions made in the text of the Communications Act, the plain language of which precludes regulation of the Internet under Title II.”

The “plain language” Republicans pointed to “makes it US policy to ‘preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet… unfettered by Federal or State regulation.'”

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