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FRED UPTON, MICHIGAN

HENRY A. WAXMAN, CALIFORNIA

CHAIRMAN

RANKING MEMBER

ONE HUNDRED THIRTEENTH CONGRESS

cteongress of tbe Wntteb ~tates

j!)ouse of ll\epresentatibes

COMMITIEE ON ENERGY AND COMMERCE

2125 RAYBURN HousE OFFICE BuiLDING

WASHINGTON, DC 20515-6115

MaJOrity (2021 225-2927

Mmority (7021 225-3641

May 13,2014

Thomas E. Wheeler

Chainnan

Federal Communications Commission

445 It11 St, S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20554

Dear Chairman Wheeler:

We write today to express our grave concern that the Commission continues to consider

reclassifying Internet broadband service as an old-fashioned "Title II" common carrier service.

Such unwarranted and overreaching government intrusion into the broadband marketplace will

harm consumers, halt job creation, curtail investment, stifle innovation, and set America down a

dangerous path of micromanaging the Internet. The Commission must reject this approach.

Over a decade ago, the FCC wisely rejected calls to regulate broadband service as a Title

II service, noting Congress's explicit direction to leave the Internet "unfettered by federal or state

regulation." The result of this regulatory restraint has been billions of dollars in private sector

investment, tremendous annual increases in broadband speeds, and an explosion of applications,

content and services available to consumers over the Internet.

Now, despite the incredible record of broadband success in America, the Commission

may be contemplating turning back the clock on this process and proceeding with a classification

that gives itself the authority to regulate every possible aspect of the Internet. Simply raising the

prospect of such stii1ing regulation harms broadband providers, the American economy, and

ultimately broadband consumers- actually doing so would be fatal to the Internet as we know it.

Indeed, consumers will fare the worst ifthe FCC proceeds with this "common carrier-

ization" of broadband. The FCC efforts to impose Title II regulation will prohibit pricing

innovation and force consumers to pay for the entire cost of building and operating American

Internet access networks. As demand for video and data continues to explode exponentially, this

will ultimately result in broadband becoming unaffordable for many Americans. Title II

reclassification could deprive consumers of the benefits of creative and tlcxible market-based

pricing plans that would fit their video and data needs at affordable prices.

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Letter to Chairman Wheeler

Page 2

Investors, investment analysts, and broadband companies have advised that regulating

broadband as a Title II service will create such regulatory uncertainty that stock values will drop

and investment capital will become much harder to find. Decreased investment leads to deferred

maintenance, infrequent upgrades, and stalled deployment, which, at best, leads to higher

consumer prices and at worst leaves consumers with fewer, if any, reliable choices. This market

reaction is not speculation, it is reality. When the f-CC briefly considered its "third way"

implementation of Title II several years ago, broadband provider stocks dropped sharply.

Without capital, providers cannot innovate, upgrade their networks, or create new jobs. This is

not an outcome anyone wants.

Sixteen years ago, in a report to Congress, then-Chairman Bill Kennard and the FCC set a

course for this country that supports consumer choice and champions the freedom of the Internet.

The regulatory approach to date has done just that -

by rejecting legacy regulation and

supporting the job-creating and investment potential of the private sector. The Commission

needs to send a strong sikrnal that it has no intention of hanning today's thriving market and

consumers by imposing expansive new Title II regulation on broadband service and

micromanaging the Internet under rules designed for the legacy telephone network. We ask you

to end this uncertainty by stating clearly your intention to drop any consideration of the Title II

approach, and closing your Title II docket.

Sincerely,

Greg

Chairman

Subcommittee noaooll""n'n...,

~cfW,./

Vice Chairman

Vice Chairman

Subcommittee on Communications and Technology

cc:

The Honorable Henry 1\. Waxman, Ranking Member

House Committee on Energy and Commerce

The J Ionorable Anna Eshoo, Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Communications and Technology

The llonorable Mignon Clyburn, Commissioner

Federal Communications Commission

The llonorable Jessica Rosenworcel, Commissioner

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Letter to Chairman Wheeler

Page 3

Federal Communications Commission

The Honorable Ajit Pai, Commissioner

Federal Communications Commission

The llonorable Michael O' Rielly, Commissioner

Federal Communications Commission

. .

r

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