Boehner, Cantor Want Obama To Back Off Net Neutrality

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House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) has joined with Republican Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to ask President Obama to back off network neutrality.

Obama has publicly praised Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski's effort to expand and codify the agency's network neutrality guidelines.

But in a letter to the president, the legislators said they were "surprised and disappointed" by the FCC's direction. They argue that codifying network neutrality regs would thwart broadband investment and deployment, and advise that the commission would be best to stick to drawing up its national broadband plan, due to Congress Feb. 17, rather than divert resources to network neutrality.

"We urge you to encourage the FCC to refocus its priorities on properly examining the broadband market and completing its broadband plan."

Public Knowledge, which backs codification of network neutrality, advised the president to stay the course.

"It is truly unfortunate that the House Republican leadership has put itself in the position of trying to slow down the greatest economic engine for job creativity and innovation ever created," said Gigi Sohn in a statement. "The president has it exactly right...Net Neutrality is simply a guarantee of fairness, a prohibition on discrimination. Telephone, cable and wireless companies will still manage their networks and will still invest as they wish. Putting the telephone, cable and wireless companies in control of the content, however, is a recipe for economic disaster."

Network neutrality got a shout out Friday from a bipartisan Knight Foundation commission, which argued it was crucial to the future of community access to news and information.

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