Rep. Dingell tells FCC to give up data roaming rule, questions broadband authority
Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), a veteran lawmaker in telecommunications policy, on Friday slammed a proposal by the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission to force national wireless carriers to provide roaming services for customers of regional service providers.
Dingell said the proposal, introduced last spring, would face legal challenges because of the FCC's questionable authority to impose rules on broadband services. The FCC is expected to vote on data roaming rules as early as next month.
"I remain concerned that you continue to over-interpret the statutory authority granted to the commission by the Congress," Dingell wrote in a letter to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski. "Further consultation with the Congress on this and other matters is desperately needed to avoid a glorious mess of litigation."
The FCC is expected to introduce that rule and a net-neutrality proposal next month under its current legal status. A federal appeals court said the agency didn't appear to have sufficient legal authority as a broadband regulator to impose sanction in 2006 against Comcast for blocking BitTorrent files that were shared by its users.
Dingell said he disagrees with Genachowski's proposal to reassert its oversight of broadband service providers, a measure that has attracted criticism from Republicans and some Democrats.
Dingell, former chairman of the Commerce and Energy committee, said the FCC should consult with Congress on new broadband rules.
"It is in the best interest of consumers that actions taken by the Commission be within the limits of its statutory authority in order to avoid litigation and uncertainty in industry," Dingell wrote.
| November 19, 2010; 3:50 PM ET
Categories: Broadband, FCC, Net Neutrality
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