Washington, D.C. – Rep. Gene Green (TX-29) was joined by more than 70 of his colleagues today in sending a letter to Chairman Julius Genachowski of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The letter asks Chairman Genachowski to not advance a current proposal to reclassify broadband internet service and potentially undermine the vast investments already made and those jobs connected with the service.
“We cannot expect broadband providers to continue investing tens of billions of dollars a year into their networks when they don’t know how much ability they will have to manage and protect that investment.” Rep. Green said, “This uncertainty not only slows deployment and expansion of broadband, it costs jobs associated with laying the lines and connecting households.”
The current National Broadband Plan has a heavy reliance on private industry investment and has seen investments of $50-60 billion annually for the last several years for broadband build-out. Under proposed changes, which have not been directed by Congressional action, a new Title II regulatory structure will likely be litigated through Circuit Courts and possibly to the Supreme Court. During this uncertain period of litigation, capital investment will undoubtedly be drastically reduced, if not halted, effectively ceasing the improvement and expansion of access to the unserved and underserved areas of the country.
“Most people consider this a partisan issue – Democrats support net neutrality regulations, Republicans oppose it,” Rep. Green Continued. “This letter clearly shows it is not a partisan issue. A large number of Democrats have reservations about such a significant regulatory shift and the impacts it will have on jobs and investment.”
If these new FCC regulatory changes are executed, the effect will be seen not only in broadband access and the jobs attributed to it, but the cost to industry to adapt will be shifted to consumers. The current system has been in place for 12 years, first adopted by the Clinton Administration in 1998, and has resulted in tremendous growth and competition in the industry.