Upton, Walden, and Terry Call on FCC to Show Economic Analysis Behind Controversial Internet Rules

March 4, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), and Vice Chairman Lee Terry (R-NE) yesterday sent the following letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski requesting the economic and market analysis included in the commission's order to impose controversial Internet rules.  The letter pushes Genachowski to demonstrate the FCC's actions will not harm our economy or ability to innovate.

March 3, 2011

The Hon. Julius Genachowski
Chairman
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street SW
Washington, DC 20554

Dear Chairman Genachowski:

Thank you for testifying at our Feb. 16, 2011, subcommittee hearing on your rules regulating the Internet. We wish to follow up on some of the issues discussed. Please provide written answers to the following questions by close of business Mon., March 7:

1.       You said at the hearing that you would find for us the market analysis the FCC conducted justifying government intervention. Please point us to the specific paragraphs and language in the order providing that analysis.

2.       President Obama said in a Jan. 18, 2011, Executive Order that agencies should base regulations on a reasoned determination that their benefits justify their costs. While the executive order does not apply to independent agencies, the President urged such agencies to follow it, and you have indicated that you plan to do so. Please point us to the specific paragraphs and language in the order containing the FCC's cost-benefit analysis justifying your intervention.

3.       President Obama has said that it is important in the current fiscal environment to focus on promoting the economy and creating jobs. Please point us to the specific paragraphs and language in the order analyzing the impact of your rules on the economy and the creation or loss of jobs.

4.       The order concludes that its rules will have "minimal" burden on small businesses. Please point us to the specific paragraphs and language in the order providing the analysis to back up that conclusion.

5.       The FCC cites section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 as legal justification for its action in the net neutrality order.  While we dispute the Commission's prior finding that broadband is not being deployed in a "reasonable and timely manner," section 706 states that in the event the Commission finds such a shortcoming, it is empowered to take action "to accelerate deployment of such capability by removing barriers to infrastructure investment."  Please point us to the specific paragraphs and language in the order providing the analysis of how the rules remove barriers to infrastructure investment.

6.       The FCC has regulatory docket GN 10-127 open that presents alternative approaches to the net neutrality rules adopted last December.  Now that the Commission has adopted an order, will you terminate the open proceeding on Title II regulation of the Internet and your "Third Way" proposal?  If not, what purpose does retaining an open docket in those proceedings serve?

Regulation of the Internet and the impact of these regulations on the economy, jobs, innovation, and the American people are of critical concern to this committee.  We look forward to your prompt response. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact our Committee staff, Neil Fried and David Redl, at 225-2927.

Sincerely,

Hon. Fred Upton
Chairman
House Energy and Commerce Committee

Hon. Greg Walden
Chairman
Subcommittee on Communications and Technology

Hon. Lee Terry
Vice Chairman
Subcommittee on Communications and Technology

                                                         
cc:      Commissioner Michael J. Copps
          Commissioner Robert M. McDowell
          Commissioner Mignon Clyburn
          Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker

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