Opposing net neutrality, GOP puts pressure back on FCC

Eighteen Senate Republicans are urging the FCC to postpone voting on new net neutrality rules, arguing that all five of the commissioners should be in agreement on a way forward. The senators, including Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), made their opposition to the regulations plain by stating: "When the government picks winners and losers in the marketplace, the incentive to invest disappears."

In the letter addressed to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, the senators argued the net neutrality push--which covers wireless and wireline networks--appears to be "outcome-driven" and based on mere speculation. "Our view is that it is harmful for the commission to impose industry-wide rules based upon speculation about what may occur in the future," they wrote.

The regulations have drawn praise from consumer advocates and fierce opposition from wireless carriers, including AT&T. While Genachowski currently enjoys majority support from the commission's two Democratic members, the two Republican commissioners--Robert McDowell and Meredith Attwell Baker--have signalled they have issues with the draft regulations.

"Such a major policy shift should be contemplated only with all off the FCC commissioners involved," the letter said. "To do it with just one party reduces the confidence the public and the Congress has in the proposal." 

In September, Senate Republicans decided not to push forward with a plan to block funding for new FCC regulatory mandates, a protest against the new proposed rules. However, now one key senator involved in that dispute, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), has sent her own letter to Genachowski expressing fresh concerns about net neutrality. In particular, she asked if new regulations would apply to service providers or companies that provide applications and services via the Internet, and whether the FCC had the authority to regulate the latter category.    

For more:
- see this this Dow Jones Newswires article (sub. req.)
- see the letter

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