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October 14th, 2009 2:45 pm
Senators Question FCC Chief on Necessity of “Net Neutrality” Rules

Last month, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski laid out his plan to impose new “net neutrality” regulations on Internet service providers, a move which could severely restrict their ability to adequately manage the flow of data and information through their broadband and wireless networks.

CFIF and others have warned on numerous occasions (see here and here and here) that the imposition of strict “net neutrality” rules would stifle the very innovation that Internet and wireless consumers have grown to demand and expect of an industry that’s been able to rapidly evolve during a time when most other sectors of the economy continue to struggle. 

Even The Washington Post editorialized that Genachowski’s net neutrality regulations “will jeopardize [‘an unfettered platform for competition, creativity and entrepreneurial activity’] — and stifle further investments by ISPs — with attempts to micromanage what has been a vibrant and well-functioning marketplace.” 

Now, some Members of Congress are ramping up their opposition as well.

Questioning the necessity for and warning against the new rules, 18 Republican Senators, led by Senator Sam Brownback, sent a letter yesterday to Chairman Genachowski:

We fear that the proposals you announced during your September 21, 2009 speech will be counterproductive and risk harming the great advancements in broadband speed and deployment that we have witnessed in recent years and will limit the freedom of the Internet.”

The letter goes on to read:

You recognize that significant progress with respect to broadband deployment has been made ‘thanks to substantial investment and technological ingenuity.’  Broadband service providers have invested billions of dollars in building and upgrading their networks to better serve their customers.  However, burdensome regulations will have a chilling effect on further private sector investment, at a time when the U.S. economy can least afford such an impact.

“It is because of significant competition among broadband service providers that consumers have more choices and are enjoying the best online experience that has ever been available. … Mobile networks are getting faster, making such networks even stronger competitors to wireline networks.  Market-based solutions and competition is working.”

Read the full letter here (.pdf).

The FCC is scheduled to vote next week on whether to unveil the proposed regulations, which are reportedly still a work in progress, to the public.

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