Rep. Latta to FCC: Reject President's 'Reckless' Call For Title II

Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio), a member of the House Communications Subcommittee, said Friday the FCC should reject what he characterized as "reckless" calls by President Obama and others for Title II common carrier regulation of Internet access.

In a speech at a Free State Foundation network neutrality forum in Washington Friday, Latta said that heaping "regulatory baggage" on Internet service providers would stunt investment and restrict innovation.

Latta is on the record as no fan of Title II. Earlier this year, he introduced a bill, backed by cable operators, that would prevent Title II reclassification by defining Internet access as an information service, and would not allow an information service to be classified as a common carrier.

The FCC is under pressure from the President and net neutrality activists to abandon approaches at buttressing new net neutrality rules under the FCC's Sec. 706 advanced telecommunications services deployment mandate for Title II reclassification.

"Some are recklessly advocating that the FCC reclassify broadband as a public utility under Title II of the Communications Act," said Latta. "This view was reiterated earlier this week by President Obama when he announced his support to regulate the Internet as a utility under Title II."

He called it "extremely troubling and disappointing" that the president would urge a regulatory course that would threaten the Internet economy and jobs.

Latta was among the Republican House and Senate Energy & Commerce Committee members who wrote FCC chairman Tom Wheeler earlier this week to advise him not to take the President's advice.

"The Internet isn't a utility, so we shouldn't treat it as one."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.