Washington (September 21, 2015) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Ranking Member Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.) and 28 members of Congress today filed an Amicus Brief with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Open Internet rules. The Amicus supports the FCC’s decision that broadband Internet access is a telecommunications service and lies at the heart of the Commission’s Title II authority to put in place strong Open Internet rules.
“The FCC has done precisely what Congress intended the Commission to do – classify broadband Internet access service according to its best understanding of the technology of the day, and how consumers use that technology,” write the members of Congress in their brief. “In light of the FCC’s findings – findings which are amply supported by evidence – this Court should uphold the FCC’s reasonable reclassification order.”
The members of Congress, several of whom were instrumental in enacting the Telecommunications Act of 1996, state in the Amicus that the plain language of the Act supports the FCC’s actions. Congress crafted the definition of “telecommunications service” in the 1996 Act to make the term applicable to rapidly changing telecommunications technologies and markets on a technologically-neutral and forward-looking basis. Congress intended to preserve the FCC’s authority to forestall threats to competition and innovation in telecommunications services, even as the technologies used to offer those services evolve over time.
Senator Markey and Rep. Eshoo previously have led Senate and House Democrats in calling on the FCC to put strong net neutrality rules in place by reclassifying broadband as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act.
Other senators signing the Amicus are: Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Angus S. King, Jr. (I-Maine), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Cory A. Booker (D-N.J.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).
Other House members signing the Amicus are: Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Sam Farr (D-Calif.), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Michael M. Honda (D-Calif.), Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), John Lewis (D-Ga.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), José E. Serrano (D-N.Y.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.)
A copy of the Amicus Brief can be found HERE.