Dear Mr. Chairman …

(Excerpts from a letter sent to FCC chairman Julius
Genachowski by 73 House Democrats on May 24.)

Dear Chairman Genachowski:

We are writing to reinforce the
strong bipartisan consensus among policymakers,
industry participants and analysts that
the success of the broadband
marketplace stems from policies
that encourage competition,
private investment and
legal certainty.

The regulatory framework first adopted in 1998
by the Clinton administration’s FCC has resulted
in broadband-industry infrastructure investment
of approximately $60 billion per year. In the last
decade, multiple providers and the hundreds of
thousands of workers they employ have brought
high-speed connections to 95% of U.S. households,
where two-thirds of Americans now access
the Internet through broadband at home.

Still, much work remains to be done. According
to the National Broadband Plan, 14 million
Americans lack broadband access altogether,
many underserved areas need more robust
broadband facilities, and both wired and wireless
broadband services require increasing speeds.
As the plan notes, that work will require as much
as $350 billion in additional private investment.
Generating those enormous sums from industry,
and the good-paying jobs they produce, will require
a continued commitment to the stable regulatory
environment that has existed for the last
dozen years.

Because of this, we have serious concerns
about the proposed new regulatory framework
for broadband and the Internet. The expanded
FCC jurisdiction over broadband
that has been proposed and the
manner in which it would be implemented
are unprecedented
and create regulatory uncertainty.

The continued deployment and adoption of
broadband, the growing importance of the Internet
to our constituents, and the significant contributions
this will make to our economy should
be the FCC’s primary focus right now. The uncertainty
this proposal creates will jeopardize jobs
and deter needed investment for years to come.
The significant regulatory impact of reclassifying
broadband service is not something that should
be taken lightly and should not be done without
additional direction from Congress. We urge you
not to move forward with a proposal that undermines
critically important investment in broadband
and the jobs that come with it.

Thank you for your attention to this letter, and
we look forward to working with you in a constructive
way to address these matters.