WASHINGTON, June 12 – Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., decried the move to impose Network Neutrality on broadband carriers, speaking at a keynote luncheon address at the Broadband Policy Summit IV here.
Restrictions on the ability of carriers to design the rules whereby data flows over their networks are a bad idea, Stearns said.
He was particularly critical of a bill, the “Internet Freedom Preservation Act,” H.R. 5353, introduced by Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet.
First, “it gives the [Federal Communications Commission a green light to engage in regulation without congressional oversight.” Second, “it doesn’t allow for legitimate network management,” he said.
In response to a question about how the push for legislation — in 2006 — that would allow the Bell companies to offer television services nationwide, without obtaining county-by-county franchises, Stearns said the he did not think the bill could be revived this Congress.
“How do you get video franchising through without attaching Net Neutrality?” Stearns pondered. “I would suspect that at this point, it is not going to happen. Anytime that you hold up something that significant, you stop the investment” by telecommunications carriers.
Still, Stearns said he would have his staff counsel look into creating such a bill this Congress.