Calling it a dramatic and unnecessary step that risked
calling into question the FCC's credibility, the commission's two Republicans
Thursday (May 6) said the FCC was crossing a "regulatory Rubicon" by
classifying Internet access as traditional phone service under Title II.
"This proposal is disappointing and deeply concerns
us," said FCC Commissioners Robert McDowell and Meredith Attwell Baker in
a joint statement.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski Thursday called his
just-announced proposal to classify the transmission element of broadband under
Title II, while forbearing (not applying) a number of provisions, a light-touch
approach and middle ground to help classify the current regulatory uncertainty.
But McDowell and Baker saw it quite differently. "It is
neither a light-touch approach, nor a third way," they said.
"Instead, it is a stark departure from the long-established bipartisan
framework for addressing broadband regulation that has led to billions in
investment and untold consumer opportunities. It also poses serious
ramifications across the globe."
The pair said the FCC has been warned by investors that
"to foist burdensome rules excavated from the early-Ma Bell-monopoly era
onto 21st Century networks" would create regulatory uncertainty of its own
"that will inhibit the investment of risk capital America badly
needs to improve and expand our broadband infrastructure and create jobs."