Congressman Ready for a Fight with the FCC over Broadband Internet Access

Oklahoma Rep. Steve Russell is ready to take on FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in a fight over whether the Federal Communications Commission should be able to regulate broadband rates in the nation.

Russell is among those who recently voted to approve HR 2666—the No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act. It was approved on a 241-to-173 vote. The bill prohibits the FCC from regulating retail rates levied by Internet service providers for broadband internet service access.

What concerns Russell is how Wheeler spoke against such regulation in March, telling a House hearing, “We will not regulate broadband rates.”

But last year, Wheeler also told a Senate hearing that if Congress wants to say that rate regulation is off the table for the next commission, he would not oppose it.

“What’s concerning is when questioned in a House Energy and Commerce hearing on March 22 of this year, Chairman Wheeler said that the FCC should have the authority to regulate Internet service rates,” said Rep. Russell, who says service rates are commerce and taxes constitutionally fall under the jurisdiction of Congress.

The congressman questioned Wheeler last year during a hearing about new taxes and Wheeler said that’s under the purview of Congress, not the FCC.

“Chairman Wheeler should stand by his initial words, and accept the will of Congress and the will of the people that the FCC shoujld stay out of Internet service rate regulation,” added Russell.

He also pointed out that a study by the U.S. Telecom Association showed ISP rate regulation would create uncertainty in the market, impede investment and innovation and could cost 43,000 jobs.


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