Stearns: FCC Should Not Put Title II on Sept. Meeting Agenda

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Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) said Wednesday that he was concerned that Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski might be planning to put the reclassification of broadband access under Title II regulations on the agency's September meeting agenda, and asked House Energy & Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) to advise the chairman not to do so.
At an Energy & Commerce markup hearing July 21 on various bills, Stearns, ranking member of the House Communications Subcommittee, said that he understood reclassification might be on the Sept. 16
meeting agenda.

"I hope that does not take place," he said, arguing that it would provide little time for the FCC to consider the comment it had solicited on the proposal (replies are due in mid-August). He also said Hill discussions suggested that there was a way to have a targeted legislative solution.It would also provide Congress little time to ponder that move since it will only have just returned from its August recess.

Stearns asked Waxman to "consult" with Genachowski and ask him to delay consideration until at least October. Waxman did not respond.

FCC commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker, for one, has said she expected the FCC to take up reclassification, which she has major concerns about, in early fall or even late summer: "while the leaves are still on the trees."

At the same hearing, Energy & Commerce ranking member Joe Barton (R-Tex.) echoed his criticisms of the FCC's release of a report finding that broadband was not being deployed in the U.S. on a reasonable and timely basis.
Barton said that the FCC seemed to have been ignoring marketplace successes. He said saying the private sector can't blanket every inch of the country with broadband is one thing, but that implying that the sector was "stalled," and that "only taxpayers money" can jump-start the process was "simply deceptive."

The FCC said Tuesday that the report's findings underscored the need to find new spectrum for wireless broadband and spur infrastructure development.

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