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Barton: Genachowski Title II Proposal "Truly Troubling"

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), ranking member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee said Thursday (May 13) that FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's proposal to put the transmission component of broadband access under Title II common carrier regulations is "truly troubling" and a "'solution in search of a problem."

That came in a statement for a hearing Thursday in the Communications Subcommittee on the National Broadband Plan.

Barton said that Genachowski and President Obama are are pushing Internet regulation as part of a broadband deployment plan when there is already a broadband-deployment mechanism in place and working: "the free enterprise system."

Barton expressed his frustration with the criticisms of the country's ranking in broadband, which has been invoked by the chairman and primarily Democratic legislators as one of the reasons the plan is necessary and overdue.

"I’m sick and tired of being compared to Malta and to Liechtenstein. We can all look at a map. We ain’t Liechtenstein. Bottom line: The FCC has now said that 95 percent of the country has broadband access and two-thirds have signed up. All without our beloved bureaucrats or the beleaguered Congress getting in the way. Chairman Genachowski, and all of us, should stay on that course," he said.

Barton said broadband deployment is a laudable goal, but said the Internet may not be for everybody. "Convincing people to buy something they’re not sure they need is a dangerous business, and any government involvement is ripe for mischief, waste, and nonsense. We cannot allow that," he said.

Barton's criticism came a little before Genachowski was expected to discuss that plan and other issues at a National Cable & Telecommunications Association keynote session in Los Angeles.