Fans Of Hill Net Bill Weigh In

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With legislators, including House Energy & Commerce Committee chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), former Communications Subcommittee chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass.), exiting Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and others signaling the FCC it should proceed with Title II reclassification, those on other side of the argument came out in force Friday.

Markey, for example, put it in no uncertain terms. After the failure of Waxman's net neutrality bill to gain Republican support, despite general industry support for the legislative fix, Markey said Thursday (Sept. 30) in a statement that "it is now time for FCC to reclassify broadband Internet access under Title II."

"[T]he FCC should defer to Congress and not take the dangerous and counterproductive step" of Title II countered the Minority Media & Telecommunications Counsel, which has represented minority groups with concerns about the effects of network neutrality rules on investment and innovation. "[W]e urge members of Congress to continue their efforts to craft targeted legislation, " said MMTC executive director David Honig in a statement.

The Alliance for Digital Equality, whose eclectic membership includes AT&T, Cisco, BET and the Communications Workers of America, seconded that emotion.

In a statement, alliance chairman Julius Hollis said: "By calling for reclassification, fringe groups are simply out of touch with what our communities really need, and that's jobs and investment. We cannot allow them to hijack this debate, nor can we allow overregulation by the FCC to impede this goal."

Groups like MMTC, ADE and others are worried that statements from Markey and others will provide the political cover for reclassification, though a majority of House members have registered their concern about reclassification.

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