House Republicans Warn Genachowski Not to Adopt Internet Regulation Order at December Meeting

November 19, 2010. Some participants in the long running debate over network neutrality mandates (regulation of the network management practices of broadband internet access service providers) are now acting as though the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to adopt an order at its December meeting that contains network neutrality rules. However, the FCC has issued no public notice or statement to this effect.

Nineteen Republicans on the House Commerce Committee (HCC) sent a letter [PDF] to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski on November 19 warning him that it would be a "mistake" to adopt a "network neutrality order" at the FCC's December meeting.

They wrote that "It has been productive to halt activity on network neutrality absent clear direction from Congress." They added that "Approximately 300 members of the House and Senate from both sides of the aisle have indicated that the questions raised in the network neutrality rulemaking are better left to Congress."

"We understand you are considering circulating a network neutrality order for vote at the December FCC meeting. That is a mistake", the nineteen wrote. "We ask you not to circulate such an order."

In addition, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), who signed the above referenced letter, also issued a release on November 19 in which he stated that "Recent reports seem to indicate that the Federal Communications Commission may consider Chairman Genachowski's job killing and investment freezing net neutrality proposal at the Commission's December meeting".

Rep. Cliff StearnsRep. Stearns (at right) is the current ranking Republican on the HCC's Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet. He is also vying to become Chairman of the HCC in the 112th Congress.

He added that "Ramming through Internet regulations would ignore the will of a bipartisan majority of Congress and the American public. It would further impede economic growth and job creation. Furthermore, since the December meeting agenda will be released next week when Congress is in recess, it appears that Chairman Genachowski is trying to slip it under the radar and hope no one notices."

The Commission will hold events titled "open meeting" on November 30 and December 15, 2010. The FCC has already released a tentative agenda for the November 30 event. See also, story titled "FCC Releases Tentative Agenda for November 30 Event" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,150, November 8, 2010.

Genachowski gave a speech on November 15 at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) annual convention in Atlanta, Georgia, without discussing network neutrality, or regulation of the network management practices of broadband internet access service providers.

He praised broadband, 4G wireless technology, and said that more spectrum needs to be allocated for wireless broadband. He added that "The sooner incentive auction legislation is adopted, the sooner we can unleash spectrum for mobile broadband". He also discussed the agenda for the November 30 meeting, but not the agenda for the December 15 meeting. He also discussed universal service, expansion of universal service, and intercarrier compensation.