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Upton Calls FCC's Title II Plan a "Blind Power Grab"

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) has weighed in strongly against the FCCs' classification of broadband transmissions as a Title II service subject to some of those common carrier regulations.

That makes the second former chairman of the House Communications Subcommittee to weigh in June 16 on the issue, following the letter from Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) supporting the proposal. Both come on the eve of the FCC's meeting June 17 to announce an inquiry into reclassification.

Mincing no words, Upton came out firing in a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski: "Despite overwhelming opposition within a Congress that possesses the actual authority that the FCC covets, the Commission now inexplicably appears poised on Thursday to take another misguided leap towards its investment-suffocating attempt to regulate broadband providers as common carriers."

Genachowski has billed his "third way" as a middle ground between overregulation and none at all, but the proposal has gotten pushback from Democrats and Republicans alike, though more recently some top Democratic names--Markey and Sen. John Kerry among them--have vowed their support.

Upton said the FCC's regulatory compass was broken and labeled the move a "blind power grab." Pulling out the rhetorical bullhorn, Upton warned, "stand down from pursuing a course unauthorized and opposed by Congress."

Letters, briefings and e-mails for and against were flying Wednesday as the clock ticked down on what promised to be one of the FCC's higher-profile public meetings. Title II is the only issue on the docket.