Legislation aims to slow FCC's net neutrality push

A Republican lawmaker introduced a bill that requires the FCC to submit a detailed market analysis to prove the need for the agency to reclassify broadband and move ahead with its proposed net neutrality rules.

Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) introduced the Internet Protection, Investment and Innovation Act that would require the FCC to prove, through a rigorous cost-benefit analysis, that new rules are warranted. The FCC would then have to submit the report to Congress.

The bill comes on the heels of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's plan to reclassify broadband as a Title II common-carrier service as a way to firm up the commission's authority to implement net neutrality, among other goals. The approach outlined by Genachowski calls for the transmission component of broadband, and only that component, to be recognized as a telecommunications service. The commission will then look to apply only a handful of Title II provisions while ignoring parts that are not applicable to broadband. Critics have charged that the plan leaves the door open for regulatory overreach.

"I think this is a partisan move by him [Genachowski] to regulate the Internet," said Stearns, who is the ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee's subcommittee on communications. "This curious step by Chairman Genachowski would reverse course and ... do an end run around Congress, where this issue should and must be debated first."

Internet service providers and the CTIA have strongly disagreed with Genachowski's approach.

An FCC spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

For more:
- see this Washington Post article
- see this GigaOM post
- see this IDG News Service article

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