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Robert Namer
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June 17, 2024

     A letter from 29 Republican members of Congress  to the Federal Communications Commission warned the agency that its proposed rules regarding “net neutrality” are “unlawful,” and should be left for Congress to determine.  Republicans make a good point.

     “We write to express our disappointment and opposition to your announcement that the FCC will vote to reclassify fixed and mobile broadband as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934,” the letter from the members to FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said. “Not only is this bad public policy, but it is also unlawful. Reclassification and the associated heavy-handed regulations that accompany this action continues to be a solution in search of a problem.”

     A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking released by the FCC looks to enact regulations and control over broadband internet access by classifying it as a telecommunications service under the Communications Act of 1984, which would give the agency “additional authority to safeguard national security” and provide “a uniform, national regulatory approach to protect the open Internet by preventing broadband Internet access service providers from engaging in practices harmful to consumers.” 

     “This notice proposes to classify broadband Internet access service as a telecommunications service and provide the Commission with authority necessary to safeguard the open Internet, advance national security, and protect public safety,” the FCC document said. “[It] also proposes to reestablish conduct rules for Internet service providers that would provide a uniform, national approach for safeguarding Internet openness, replacing the current patchwork of state requirements.”

    The Congress members argued that the current “light-touch” regulations on the industry have led to lower prices and faster speeds, while also allowing the industry to “thrive.” The members also warned that a more “heavy-handed” regulatory framework based on “utility-style” regulations is different from the single company telephone industry the rules were designed to address in the 1930s, citing the intense competition among internet providers in the industry today.  

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