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Lawmakers Show Partisan Split on Open Internet Proposal

in Net Neutrality by

WASHINGTON, September 2, 2010 – The request for comments by the Federal Communications Commission on the managed services and mobile broadband aspect on the open internet has received mixed reactions from members of Congress.

Republican Sen. John Ensign from Nevada would like to limit the power of the FCC. “Considering that net neutrality is the primary reason for the chairman’s misguided attempt to re-regulate the internet under heavy-handed monopoly rules, I hope he puts his reclassification plans on the shelf indefinitely. It would be a mistake for the FCC to go down the Title II rabbit hole when it doesn’t even fully understand where it wants to go on net neutrality,” he said. “Either way, the FCC should avoid taking a heavy-handed approach to the Internet that might stifle innovation and investment in broadband services.”

Democratic Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts responded with a statement in support of the chairman’s so-called “Third Way” proposal which would implement a mix of Title I and Title II regulation while maintaining a “light touch”. “If Congress fails to successfully legislate clarifications this month to the FCC’s authority. It is my hope that the FCC will move quickly to complete its “Third Way” proceeding in order to protect consumers, safeguard fair competition, and preserve the openness that has enabled the Internet to become the most successful communications and commercial medium in history.”

He also said any “fast lanes” would fundamentally be opposed to the open internet principles, adding that the digital divide would widen if mobile broadband would be excluded from the principles.

Rahul Gaitonde has been writing for BroadbandBreakfast.com since the fall of 2009, and in May of 2010 he became Deputy Editor. He was a fellow at George Mason University’s Long Term Governance Project, a researcher at the International Center for Applied Studies in Information Technology and worked at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. He holds a Masters of Public Policy from George Mason University, where his research focused on the economic and social benefits of broadband expansion. He has written extensively about Universal Service Fund reform, the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program and the Broadband Data Improvement Act

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