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Hoyer Announces Support for Targeted Legislation to Affirm FCC Authority over Broadband

16 Jul, 2010

Congress must step in to clarify FCC authority to protect broadband consumers, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) announced.

Following the landmark Comcast v. FCC ruling in April, many have questioned whether the FCC has authority to protect an open Internet and implement key elements of the National Broadband Plan such as universal service reform.

The FCC has opened a proceeding asking whether to reclassify broadband as a Title II teleccommunications service — not a Title I information service — as a means to enforce net neutrality rules on ISPs. However, by applying rules designed for telecom companies to the Internet, the FCC may unintentionally stifle future investment, job creation, and innovation.

Congressional leaders have also asserted that an FCC process may not stand the scrutiny of a court challenge. According to Katie Grant, Leader Hoyer's spokesperson,

The FCC has itself acknowledged that it must walk a very careful legal path as it develops a reclassification plan, which underscores the utility of also having Congress...legislate a consensus approach.

Hoyer joins labor, civil rights, and environmental organizations who indicated in a joint letter their support for narrowly targeted legislation to affirm FCC authority to reform universal service for broadband and to protect an open Internet. In addition, seventy-six House Democrats oppose the FCC's efforts to reclassify broadband as a Title II service.

Hoyer: Congress has broadband power (The Hill)

Letter to Congress Regarding Broadband Reclassification (Speed Matters)

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