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Bill would make it harder for FCC to create new broadband rules

Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) on Tuesday introduced a bill that would make it harder for the Federal Communications Commission to create new regulations for the broadband industry. The bill was in response to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's proposal to define broadband as a telecommunications service so that it could create a net neutrality rule and policy reforms around its national broadband plan.

Stearns, ranking member of the Communications, Technology and Internet subcommittee, said the bill would require the FCC to conduct a tough market analysis before mandating new rules. The FCC would need to prove that regulations are necessary and that there is a market failure that warrants rules. The agency would have to report the findings to Congress.

“I see no reason for Internet regulation. Yet, if there is ever a cause for regulation, it is a decision to be made by Congress – not the FCC,” Stearns said in a statement. Chairmen of the House and Senate commerce committees and other key lawmakers have thrown their support behind Genachowski's proposal.

Broadband services providers, meanwhile, hailed Stearns's bill. They said it would provide necessary protections against a new regime at the FCC, which they fear could lead to mounting regulation.

“Congressman Stearns’s legislation starts with the right premise: Regulators should identify a problem before imposing a solution," said Peter Davidson, senior vice president of federal government relations for Verizon. "It is certainly appropriate for Congress to examine the implications of regulation, and his effort is an important addition to the discussion."

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By Cecilia Kang  |  May 11, 2010; 4:15 PM ET
Categories:  Broadband , FCC  | Tags: Federal Communications Commission, Network neutrality  
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anything that big telecom hates, must be good for the people.

Posted by: submarinerssn774 | May 11, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Multi-billion dollar telecom industry. Multi-million dollar lobbying. And a congressman funded by them joining forces with astroturf groups funded by the telcos. Yeah, this must be a great bill for consumers, right?

When a bunch of white guys climbing the corporate ladder to that dream island in the sky stocked with all the cheerleaders they never got in high school are forced to focus on quarterly reports to advance this is what's gonna happen.

Posted by: Ixian | May 11, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Naturally - A republican pushing a bill to help big bussiness screw over everyone else - GOP Greedy old pigs.

If this bill were to pass, then Everyone should form a Tea party and toss the corporate owned politicians out on their ear!

Posted by: maxtor0 | May 11, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

A Congressman says: "Yet, if there is ever a cause for regulation, it is a decision to be made by Congress – not the FCC"

Let me get this straight: The Internet is a dynamic changing medium and new security threats develop daily, and yet this guy wants to run the FCC "by remote control" through legislation?

Leave it to a Republican to think that more legislation is the way to solve problems. Micro-managing the nanny state.

For goodness sake, this is WHY we have agencies, so that they can make low-level policy decisions without having to get Congressional approval every time they want to switch to using a different brand of coffee creamer.

Posted by: frantaylor | May 11, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

No mention of the fact that Congressman Cliff Stearns has received $98,300 in campaign donations from the communications/electronics industry in this campaign cycle alone -- by far the biggest donors to his re-election campaign.

You´d think that would be an important part of this story. Or is the pay-for-play nature of our Congress not even news anymore?

Posted by: kcx7 | May 11, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Their "grassroots" campaign, designed to reach out to teabaggers and the like, appears to have slipped out. Whoops!

At least now we know if anyone on WaPo boards starts tossing around the "net-brutality" catchphrase they're just a paid shill or drone for the telecoms.

Posted by: washpost18 | May 12, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Keep Your Government Hands Off My Internet.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | May 12, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

We certainly know in who's comfy, money-lined pocket Mr. Stearns resides.

Posted by: nadie1 | May 12, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

The term 'net brutality' smacks of fearmongering and is a bit much. The PR dept should rethink that one.

Anyway, if net neutrality ever passes, the telecoms are going to shove 'search neutrality' regulation up Google's backside.

Posted by: millionea81 | May 12, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Sure would like to see what his latest contribution reports show. Where his summer vacation going to be and who is picking up tab.

Posted by: ksobserver1 | May 12, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) ---- is all I had to read... if it's a Republican it'll be bad for Americans... unless you're a mega-corp or wealthy.

Posted by: kkrimmer | May 12, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Lets see, regulations imposed by career bureaucrats who for all effective purposes can't get fired, working for political appointees of the current administration? I'll take my chances with Congress! Any action they may take will be scrutinized by subject experts and publicly discussed before being voted on by elected representatives. I don't trust anyone in government to be completely unbiased, but the more people involved with the process, the safer I feel.

Posted by: 23yr_af_member | May 13, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

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