House GOP Leaders Complain to Obama About Net Neutrality
House Republican leaders complained Friday to President Obama that net neutrality rules proposed by the Federal Communications Commission could deter investment in broadband networks and hurt the economy.
House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the House Republican whip, wrote in a letter to the president that the FCC, led by chairman Julius Genachowski, should focus on its congressional mandate to come up with a plan to bring high-speed Internet access to all U.S. homes instead of net neutrality rules. The net neutrality rules would be a separate proceeding from the national broadband plan that is due to Congress in Feb. 2010.
In their letter, Boehner and Cantor asked Obama to "encourage the FCC to refocus its priorities on properly examining the broadband market and completing its broadband plan."
"If the FCC micromanages broadband network management, broadband investment will be in jeopardy," the lawmakers wrote.
Though the letter was sent to the president, the FCC is an independent federal agency.
A spokeswoman at the FCC, declined to comment when asked about the letter.
Last week, Genachowski announced a proposal to codify and expand rules that would give consumers access to any legal applications and services of their choice on the Web. The rules would prevent carriers from blocking content and technologies on their networks. Known as net neutrality guidelines, the proposal is a cornerstone of Obama's technology agenda and one that the president has supported since the campaign. The administration's other chief technology objective is universal broadband, which the president has argued should be part of the nation's future infrastructure in the same way that roads and railways have been.
The letter follows a move -- later retracted -- by House Republicans last week that would have blocked some funding to the FCC in an attempt to keep the net neutrality rules from being advanced. The lawmakers later scrapped their plan, after Genachowski reached out to the Hill leader to discuss the proposed rules
October 2, 2009; 4:52 PM ET
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