GOP senators urge FCC to drop internet regulations proposal

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-SD) recently led more than 40 of his Republican colleagues in opposing the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) proposal to reinstate public-utility regulations on the internet. 

The FCC on Thursday voted to approve a notice of proposed rulemaking to move forward on restoring so-called “net neutrality” regulations enacted during the Obama administration but then repealed by the Trump administration.

In an Oct. 5 letter to FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, Sen. Thune and more than 40 other senators urged the FCC to abandon its repeated attempts to adopt net neutrality rules. The lawmakers said enacting the FCC’s proposal to reinstate the public-utility regulations of Title II of the Communications Act on the internet would be an “historic mistake.”

They noted that broadband investment has increased, deployment has increased, speeds have increased, and high-speed internet access has become more affordable during the period when American networks were operating without obtrusive regulations.

“Re-imposing heavy-handed, public-utility regulations on the internet would threaten the progress our country has made since 2017, and it would steer our country out of the fast lane and into a world of less competition, less choice, less investment, slower speeds, and higher prices,” the letter said.

Furthermore, the FCC lacks the statutory authority over broadband internet access, the senators stated. “Any attempt by the FCC to reinstate net neutrality regulations and the onerous rules of Title II on internet service providers will not survive judicial review,” they wrote.

Joining Sen. Thune in signing the letter were U.S. Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Steve Daines (R-MT), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Todd Young (R-IN), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Mike Rounds (R-SD), John Hoeven (R-ND), and Deb Fischer (R-NE).