update: Dorgan, Markey add to call for FCC to assert authority over broadband
With renewed attention on the Federal Communications Commission and net neutrality, some lawmakers have cast their support for the agency to reassert its authority as regulator of broadband Internet services.
Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass) joined Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) on Wednesday, urging the Federal Communications Commission to reassert its authority over broadband services after a failed U.S. House attempt to create a new neutrality bill. Other lawmakers, including Joe Barton (R-Tex) have been fiercely critical of such a move.
“While I appreciate all the work that has been done in the House on net neutrality, I continue to believe that the best way to preserve the free and open Internet is for the FCC to act now to reclassify broadband under Title II," Dorgan said in a statement. "All of us who believe in an Internet without gatekeepers or tollbooths should be calling on Chairman [Julius] Genachowski to reclassify broadband in a manner that re-imposes the nondiscrimination rules on the large internet providers.”
Markey said in a separate release:
“It is now time for FCC to reclassify broadband Internet access under Title II. Chariman Genachowski’s ‘Third Way’ proposal would ensure that the Internet retains the features that have made it the most successful communications and commercial medium in history. Now that it is clear that Congress is unlikely to legislate in this area this year, the FCC should move forward to implement this vitally important proposal.”
On Wednesday, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the Energy and Commerce committee, announced he could not get Republican support for legislation on how broadband service providers treat content on their networks. Waxman also urged the FCC to create its own net neutrality rules and reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service in order to do so.
Analysts said eyes are now on Genachowski to see if he will proceed on a proposal to reassert authority over broadband, a measure that has sparked strong criticism by industry leaders such as Ivan Seidenberg of Verizon and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. They say the measure is overreaching and could chill investment in their businesses.
| September 30, 2010; 12:04 PM ET
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