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Pallone Backs Preventing FCC From Regulating ISP Rates

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), ranking member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, says he agrees "with the sentiment" behind a bill preventing the FCC from regulating rates for broadband Internet access, though not necessarily with the approach taken by a new bill, H.R. 2666, the No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Act.

"The Commission should not be setting rates for broadband access," he said in his opening statement for a Jan. 12 Communications Subcommittee legislative hearing on that and other communications-related bills.

He said while he supports the bill's intent, he has concerns that, as drafted, it will have unintended consequences, including spurring litigation and curtailing the FCC's consumer protection abilities, a result he said was not acceptable.

Pallone praised Communications Subcommittee chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) for bringing up the bills in a legislative hearing rather than simply move to a markup, where the bills are amended and voted on.

"Legislative hearings like the one we are holding today do not simply check a box—they help our members and the public better understand the potential effects of the bills before us," he said. "When the committee is given opportunities to make reasonable and thoughtful decisions, we end up with better results."

He also suggested that he hoped that future hearings would include Democratic bills like his own Viewer Protection Act, SANDY Act, Spectrum Challenge Prize Act and others.