20 House Dems Warn Against Title II

Say it could hurt broadband investment and deployment

Twenty Democratic members of House have written FCC Chairman Tom wheeler to say they are concerned by calls to reclassify broadband access under Title II regs.

In the letter, filed on the eve of the FCC's planned vote on new open Internet rules, the legislators said that they agreed with the chairman that consumers should not be blocked from accessing Web sites of their choice and providers should not use their control over the last mile to "stifle competition."

But that said, their chief point was that they were concerned with reports the FCC may be considering -- it is -- using Title II authority to undergird them.

They said that broadband deployment and investment have flourished under "relatively little regulation." They contrasted that with the "wide array of regulatory burdens and restrictions" including Title II, that could "halt that progress."

"We respectfully urge you to consider the effect that regressing to a Title II approach might have on private companies' ability to attract capital and their continued incentives to invest and innovate, as well as the potentially negative impact on job creation that might result from any reduction in funding or investment."

ISPs have warned that Title II would dry up that investment and threaten continued deployment.

The FCC is planning to vote May 15 on a proposal by the chairman to use existing Sec. 706 to restore no-blocking and anti-unreasonable discrimination rules, but will also ask whether Title II is the better way to go.