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Chairman Wheeler Response Regarding Open Interenet

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Released: July 1, 2014
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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

WASHINGTON

OFFICE OF

June 17, 2014

THE CHAIRMAN

The Honorable John Barrasso

United States Senate

307 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Barrasso:

Thank you for contacting me with your views regarding the Commission's efforts to

reinstate rules to preserve and protect the Open Internet. As you know, the Notice of Proposed

Rule making ("Notice") adopted by the Commission in May 2014 proposes rules that would

replace those struck down early this year by the U.S. Comi of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in its

Verizon decision, and we ask a number of questions about the appropriate legal foundation for

such rules. Your letter touches on some of the most important issues presented in the Notice, and

it will be included in the record ofthe proceeding and considered as part of the Commission's

review.

The Commission has been working for more than a decade to safeguard the Open

Internet. While there has been a bipartisan consensus, starting under the Bush Administration

with Chairman Powell, on the importance of an open Internet to economic growth, investment,

and innovation, we find ourselves today without any rules in place to protect and promote

Internet opem1ess. The status quo is unacceptable. Unless and until the FCC adopts new rules,

broadband providers will be free to block, degrade, or otherwise disadvantage innovative

services on the Internet without threat of sanction by the FCC. As Chairman, I will utilize the

best tools available to me to ensure the Commission adopts effective and resilient open Internet

rules.

The court's decision in Verizon established unequivocally that the Commission has the

legal authority under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to craft enforceable

rules to protect and promote an open Internet for all Americans. Specifically, the comi agreed

with the Commission's conclusion that an open Internet enables a virtuous cycle of investment

and broadband deployment -

i. e., that innovative content and services at the edge of the network

drive consumer demand for broadband services, which drives investment in broadband

infrastructure and deployment, which drives more innovation at the network's edges of the

network drive consumer demand for broadband services, which drives investment in broadband

infrastructure and deployment, which drives more innovation at the network's edges, and so on.

The court affirmed that it is the Commission's responsibility to protect this virtuous cycle and

that Section 706 authorizes us to do so.

image02-00.jpg612x792

Page 2-The Honorable John Barrasso

I believe that the Section 706 framework set forth by the court provides us with the tools

we need to adopt and implement robust and enforceable Open Internet rules. For this reason, the

Notice used the court's legal blueprint as a starting point. Nevertheless, the Commission also is

seriously considering the use of Title II ofthe Communications Act as a basis for legal authority.

The Notice explains that both Section 706 and Title II are viable solutions to the authority issue,

and seeks comment on the benefits of each approach, as well as the benefits of one approach

over the other, to ensuring that the Internet remains an open platform for innovation and

expression. And to your concerns about common carrier-style regulation of broadband, the

Notice asks about the extent to which forbearance from certain provisions of the Act or our rules

would be justified so that the regulatory treatment of broadband providers is appropriately

balanced.

This Notice is the first step in the process, and I look forward to comments from all

interested stakeholders, including members of the general public, as we develop a fulsome record

on the legal authority and many other questions raised in the Notice. To that end, in an effmi to

maximize public participation in this proceeding, we have established an Open Internet email

address -

openinternet@fcc.gov- to ensure that Americans who may not otherwise have the

oppo1iunity to participate in an FCC proceeding can make their voices heard. In addition, to

ensure sufficient opportunity for broad public comment, we have provided a lengthy comment

and reply period that will give everyone an opportunity to participate.

Again, I appreciate your deep interest in this matter and look forward to a continued

engagement with you and others in Congress as we move forward with this proceeding.

I ~ttL-

Tom Wheeler

image03-00.jpg612x792

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

WASHINGTON

OFFICE OF

June 17, 2014

THE CHAIRMAN

The Honorable John Thune

Ranking Member

Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

United States Senate

624 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Thune:

Thank you for contacting me with your views regarding the Commission's efforts to

reinstate rules to preserve and protect the Open Internet. As you know, the Notice of Proposed

Rulernaking ("Notice") adopted by the Commission in May 2014 proposes rules that would

replace those struck down early this year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in its

Verizon decision, and we ask a number of questions about the appropriate legal foundation for

such rules. Your letter touches on some of the most important issues presented in the Notice, and

it will be included in the record ofthe proceeding and considered as part of the Commission's

review.

The Commission has been working for more than a decade to safeguard the Open

Internet. While there has been a bipartisan consensus, starting under the Bush Administration

with Chairman Powell, on the importance of an open Internet to economic growth, investment,

and innovation, we find ourselves today without any rules in place to protect and promote

Internet openness. The status quo is unacceptable. Unless and until the FCC adopts new rules,

broadband providers will be free to block, degrade, or otherwise disadvantage innovative

services on the Internet without threat of sanction by the FCC. As Chairman, I will utilize the

best tools available to me to ensure the Commission adopts effective and resilient open Internet

rules.

The court's decision in Verizon established unequivocally that the Commission has the

legal authority under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to craft enforceable

rules to protect and promote an open Internet for all Americans. Specifically, the court agreed

with the Commission's conclusion that an open Internet enables a virtuous cycle of investment

and broadband deployment -

i.e., that innovative content and services at the edge ofthe network

drive consumer demand for broadband services, which drives investment in broadband

infrastructure and deployment, which drives more innovation at the network's edges of the

network drive consumer demand for broadband services, which drives investment in broadband

infrastructure and deployment, which drives more innovation at the network's edges, and so on.

The court affirmed that it is the Commission's responsibility to protect this virtuous cycle and

that Section 706 authorizes us to do so.

image04-00.jpg612x792

Page 2-The Honorable John Thune

I believe that the Section 706 framework set forth by the court provides us with the tools

we need to adopt and implement robust and enforceable Open Internet rules. For this reason, the

Notice used the court's legal blueprint as a starting point. Nevertheless, the Commission also is

seriously considering the use of Title II of the Communications Act as a basis for legal authority.

The Notice explains that both Section 706 and Title II are viable solutions to the authority issue,

and seeks comment on the benefits of each approach, as well as the benefits of one approach

over the other, to ensuring that the Internet remains an open platform for innovation and

expression. And to your concerns about common carrier-style regulation of broadband, the

Notice asks about the extent to which forbearance from certain provisions of the Act or our rules

would be justified so that the regulatory treatment of broadband providers is appropriately

balanced.

This Notice is the first step in the process, and I look forward to comments from all

interested stakeholders, including members of the general public, as we develop a fulsome record

on the legal authority and many other questions raised in the Notice. To that end, in an effort to

maximize public participation in this proceeding, we have established an Open Internet email

address- openinternet@fcc.gov- to ensure that Americans who may not otherwise have the

opportunity to participate in an FCC proceeding can make their voices heard. In addition, to

ensure sufficient opportunity for broad public comment, we have provided a lengthy comment

and reply period that will give everyone an opportunity to participate.

Again, I appreciate your deep interest in this matter and look forward to a continued

engagement with you and others in Congress as we move forward with this proceeding.

r:~!dJ-

Tom Wheeler

image05-00.jpg612x792

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

WASHINGTON

OFFICE OF

June 17,2014

THE CHAIRMAN

The Honorable Jerry Moran

United States Senate

260 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Moran:

Thank you for contacting me with your views regarding the Commission's efforts to

reinstate rules to preserve and protect the Open Internet. As you know, the Notice of Proposed

Rulemaking ("Notice") adopted by the Commission in May 2014 proposes rules that would

replace those struck down early this year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in its

Verizon decision, and we ask a number of questions about the appropriate legal foundation for

such rules. Your letter touches on some of the most important issues presented in the Notice, and

it will be included in the record ofthe proceeding and considered as part of the Commission's

revtew.

The Commission has been working for more than a decade to safeguard the Open

Internet. While there has been a bipartisan consensus, starting under the Bush Administration

with Chairman Powell, on the importance of an open Internet to economic growth, investment,

and innovation, we find ourselves today without any rules in place to protect and promote

Internet openness. The status quo is unacceptable. Unless and until the FCC adopts new rules,

broadband providers will be free to block, degrade, or otherwise disadvantage innovative

services on the Internet without threat of sanction by the FCC. As Chairman, I will utilize the

best tools available to me to ensure the Commission adopts effective and resilient open Internet

rules.

The comt's decision in Verizon established unequivocally that the Commission has the

legal authority under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to craft enforceable

rules to protect and promote an open Internet for all Americans. Specifically, the court agreed

with the Commission's conclusion that an open Internet enables a virtuous cycle of investment

and broadband deployment- i.e., that innovative content and services at the edge of the network

drive consumer demand for broadband services, which drives investment in broadband

infrastructure and deployment, which drives more innovation at the network's edges of the

network drive consumer demand for broadband services, which drives investment in broadband

infrastructure and deployment, which drives more innovation at the network's edges, and so on.

The court affirmed that it is the Commission's responsibility to protect this virtuous cycle and

that Section 706 authorizes us to do so.

image06-00.jpg612x792

Page 2-The Honorable Jerry Moran

I believe that the Section 706 framework set forth by the court provides us with the tools

we need to adopt and implement robust and enforceable Open Internet rules. For this reason, the

Notice used the court's legal blueprint as a starting point. Nevertheless, the Commission also is

seriously considering the use of Title II of the Communications Act as a basis for legal authority.

The Notice explains that both Section 706 and Title II are viable solutions to the authority issue,

and seeks comment on the benefits of each approach, as well as the benefits of one approach

over the other, to ensuring that the Internet remains an open platform for innovation and

expression. And to your concerns about common carrier-style regulation of broadband, the

Notice asks about the extent to which forbearance from certain provisions of the Act or our rules

would be justified so that the regulatory treatment of broadband providers is appropriately

balanced.

This Notice is the first step in the process, and I look forward to comments from all

interested stakeholders, including members of the general public, as we develop a fulsome record

on the legal authority and many other questions raised in the Notice.

To that end, in an effort to

maximize public participation in this proceeding, we have established an Open Internet email

address- openinternet@fcc.gov -

to ensure that Americans who may not otherwise have the

oppmiunity to patiicipate in an FCC proceeding can make their voices heard. In addition, to

ensure sufficient opportunity for broad public comment, we have provided a lengthy comment

and reply period that will give everyone an opportunity to participate.

Again, I appreciate your deep interest in this matter and look forward to a continued

;;/it

engagement with you and others in Congress as we move forward with this proceeding.

Tom Wheeler

image07-00.jpg612x792

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

WASHINGTON

OFFICE OF

June 17, 2014

THE CHAIRMAN

The Honorable Mitch McConnell

United States Senate

317 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator McConnell:

Thank you for contacting me with your views regarding the Commission's efforts to

reinstate rules to preserve and protect the Open Internet. As you know, the Notice of Proposed

Rulemaking ("Notice") adopted by the Commission in May 2014 proposes rules that would

replace those struck down early this year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in its

Verizon decision, and we ask a number of questions about the appropriate legal foundation for

such rules. Your letter touches on some of the most important issues presented in the Notice, and

it will be included in the record of the proceeding and considered as part of the Commission's

revtew.

The Commission has been working for more than a decade to safeguard the Open

Internet. While there has been a bipartisan consensus, starting under the Bush Administration

with Chairman Powell, on the importance of an open Internet to economic growth, investment,

and innovation, we find ourselves today without any rules in place to protect and promote

Internet openness. The status quo is unacceptable. Unless and until the FCC adopts new rules,

broadband providers will be free to block, degrade, or otherwise disadvantage innovative

services on the Internet without threat of sanction by the FCC. As Chairman, I will utilize the

best tools available to me to ensure the Commission adopts effective and resilient open Internet

rules.

The court's decision in Verizon established unequivocally that the Commission has the

legal authority under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to craft enforceable

rules to protect and promote an open Internet for all Americans. Specifically, the comi agreed

with the Commission's conclusion that an open Internet enables a virtuous cycle of investment

and broadband deployment -

i.e., that innovative content and services at the edge of the network

drive consumer demand for broadband services, which drives investment in broadband

infrastructure and deployment, which drives more innovation at the network's edges of the

network drive consumer demand for broadband services, which drives investment in broadband

infrastructure and deployment, which drives more innovation at the network's edges, and so on.

The court affirmed that it is the Commission's responsibility to protect this virtuous cycle and

that Section 706 authorizes us to do so.

image08-00.jpg612x792

Page 2-The Honorable Mitch McConnell

I believe that the Section 706 fi:amework set forth by the court provides us with the tools

we need to adopt and implement robust and enforceable Open Internet rules. For this reason, the

Notice used the court's legal blueprint as a starting point. Nevertheless, the Commission also is

seriously considering the use of Title II of the Communications Act as a basis for legal authority.

The Notice explains that both Section 706 and Title II are viable solutions to the authority issue,

and seeks comment on the benefits of each approach, as well as the benefits of one approach

over the other, to ensuring that the Internet remains an open platform for innovation and

expression. And to your concerns about common carrier-style regulation of broadband, the

Notice asks about the extent to which forbearance from certain provisions of the Act or our rules

would be justified so that the regulatory treatment of broadband providers is appropriately

balanced.

This Notice is the first step in the process, and I look forward to comments from all

interested stakeholders, including members of the general public, as we develop a fulsome record

on the legal authority and many other questions raised in the Notice. To that end, in an effort to

maximize public participation in this proceeding, we have established an Open Internet email

address -

openinternet@fcc.gov -

to ensure that Americans who may not otherwise have the

opportunity to participate in an FCC proceeding can make their voices heard. In addition, to

ensure sufficient opportunity for broad public comment, we have provided a lengthy comment

and reply period that will give everyone an opportunity to participate.

Again, I appreciate your deep interest in this matter and look forward to a continued

engagement with you and others in Congress as we move forward with this proceeding.

Ã-

Tom Wheeler

image09-00.jpg612x792

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

WASHINGTON

OFFICE OF

June 17, 2014

THE CHA I RMAN

The Honorable John Cornyn

United States Senate

517 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Cornyn:

Thank you for contacting me with your views regarding the Commission's efforts to

reinstate rules to preserve and protect the Open Internet. As you know, the Notice of Proposed

Rulemaking ("Notice") adopted by the Commission in May 2014 proposes rules that would

replace those struck down early this year by the U.S. Comi of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in its

Verizon decision, and we ask a number of questions about the appropriate legal foundation for

such rules. Your letter touches on some of the most important issues presented in the Notice, and

it will be included in the record ofthe proceeding and considered as part of the Commission's

review.

The Commission has been working for more than a decade to safeguard the Open

Internet. While there has been a bipartisan consensus, stmiing under the Bush Administration

with Chairman Powell, on the impmiance of an open Internet to economic growth, investment,

and innovation, we find ourselves today without any rules in place to protect and promote

Internet openness. The status quo is unacceptable. Unless and until the FCC adopts new rules,

broadband providers will be free to block, degrade, or otherwise disadvantage innovative

services on the Internet without threat of sanction by the FCC. As Chairman, I will utilize the

best tools available to me to ensure the Commission adopts effective and resilient open Internet

rules.

The court's decision in Verizon established unequivocally that the Commission has the

legal authority under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to craft enforceable

rules to protect and promote an open Internet for all Americans. Specifically, the court agreed

with the Commission's conclusion that an open Internet enables a virtuous cycle of investment

and broadband deployment -

i.e., that innovative content and services at the edge of the network

drive consumer demand for broadband services, which drives investment in broadband

infrastructure and deployment, which drives more innovation at the network's edges of the

network drive consumer demand for broadband services, which drives investment in broadband

infrastructure and deployment, which drives more innovation at the network's edges, and so on.

The court affirmed that it is the Commission's responsibility to protect this virtuous cycle and

that Section 706 authorizes us to do so.

image10-00.jpg612x792

Page 2-The Honorable John Cornyn

I believe that the Section 706 framework set forth by the court provides us with the tools

we need to adopt and implement robust and enforceable Open Internet rules. For this reason, the

Notice used the court's legal blueprint as a starting point. Nevertheless, the Commission also is

seriously considering the use of Title II of the Communications Act as a basis for legal authority.

The Notice explains that both Section 706 and Title II are viable solutions to the authority issue,

and seeks comment on the benefits of each approach, as well as the benefits of one approach

over the other, to ensuring that the Internet remains an open platform for innovation and

expression. And to your concerns about common carrier-style regulation of broadband, the

Notice asks about the extent to which forbearance from certain provisions of the Act or our rules

would be justified so that the regulatory treatment of broadband providers is appropriately

balanced.

This Notice is the first step in the process, and I look forward to comments from all

interested stakeholders, including members of the general public, as we develop a fulsome record

on the legal authority and many other questions raised in the Notice. To that end, in an effort to

maximize public participation in this proceeding, we have established an Open Internet email

address -

openinternet@fcc.gov- to ensure that Americans who may not otherwise have the

opportunity to pmiicipate in an FCC proceeding can make their voices heard. In addition, to

ensure sufficient opportunity for broad public comment, we have provided a lengthy comment

and reply period that will give everyone an opportunity to participate.

Again, I appreciate your deep interest in this matter and look forward to a continued

engagement with you and others in Congress as we move forward with this proceeding.

image11-00.jpg612x792

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

WASHINGTON

OFFICE OF

June 17, 2014

THE CHAIRMAN

The Honorable Roy Blunt

United States Senate

260 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Blunt:

Thank you for contacting me with your views regarding the Commission's efforts to

reinstate rules to preserve and protect the Open Internet. As you know, the Notice of Proposed

Rulemaking ("Notice") adopted by the Commission in May 2014 proposes rules that would

replace those struck down early this year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in its

Verizon decision, and we ask a number of questions about the appropriate legal foundation for

such rules. Your letter touches on some of the most important issues presented in the Notice, and

it will be included in the record of the proceeding and considered as part of the Commission's

review.

The Commission has been working for more than a decade to safeguard the Open

Internet. While there has been a bipartisan consensus, starting under the Bush Administration

with Chairman Powell, on the importance of an open Internet to economic growth, investment,

and innovation, we find ourselves today without any rules in place to protect and promote

Internet openness. The status quo is unacceptable. Unless and until the FCC adopts new rules,

broadband providers will be free to block, degrade, or otherwise disadvantage innovative

services on the Internet without threat of sanction by the FCC. As Chairman, I will utilize the

best tools available to me to ensure the Commission adopts effective and resilient open Internet

rules.

The court's decision in Verizon established unequivocally that the Commission has the

legal authority under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to craft enforceable

rules to protect and promote an open Internet for all Americans. Specifically, the court agreed

with the Commission's conclusion that an open Internet enables a virtuous cycle of investment

and broadband deployment -

i.e. , that innovative content and services at the edge of the network

drive consumer demand for broadband services, which drives investment in broadband

infrastructure and deployment, which drives more innovation at the network's edges of the

network drive consumer demand for broadband services, which drives investment in broadband

infrastructure and deployment, which drives more innovation at the network's edges, and so on.

The comi affirmed that it is the Commission's responsibility to protect this virtuous cycle and

that Section 706 authorizes us to do so.

image12-00.jpg612x792

Page 2-The Honorable Roy Blunt

I believe that the Section 706 framework set forth by the court provides us with the tools

we need to adopt and implement robust and enforceable Open Internet rules. For this reason, the

Notice used the court's legal blueprint as a stmiing point. Nevertheless, the Commission also is

seriously considering the use of Title II ofthe Communications Act as a basis for legal authority.

The Notice explains that both Section 706 and Title II are viable solutions to the authority issue,

and seeks comment on the benefits of each approach, as well as the benefits of one approach

over the other, to ensuring that the Internet remains an open platform for innovation and

expression. And to your concerns about common carrier-style regulation of broadband, the

Notice asks about the extent to which forbearance from certain provisions of the Act or our rules

would be justified so that the regulatory treatment of broadband providers is appropriately

balanced.

This Notice is the first step in the process, and I look forward to comments from all

interested stakeholders, including members of the general public, as we develop a fulsome record

on the legal authority and many other questions raised in the Notice.

To that end, in an effort to

maximize public participation in this proceeding, we have established an Open Internet email

address -

openinternet@fcc.gov -

to ensure that Americans who may not otherwise have the

opportunity to participate in an FCC proceeding can make their voices hem·d. In addition, to

ensure sufficient oppmiunity for broad public comment, we have provided a lengthy comment

and reply period that will give everyone an oppmiunity to participate.

Again, I appreciate your deep interest in this matter and look forward to a continued

engagement with you and others in Congress as we move forward with this proceeding.

ĉerely.:_ j ~ / ~

__btlfV

Tom Wheeler

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