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Schumer, Gillibrand call to reclassify broadband as a utility

WASHINGTON – As the comment period comes to a close for the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) proposed rulemaking on its Open Internet order, Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, along with eleven Senate Democrats, are calling on the Commission to reclassify the transmission component of broadband Internet access as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. In a letter to be sent to the FCC today, the lawmakers point to the need for the FCC to use its authority to “prevent broadband providers from creating Internet fast lanes for those who can pay, leaving others stuck in traffic.” The FCC is currently considering a proposal that could allow broadband providers to charge websites, applications, and services more for faster delivery times to consumers.

“Broadband is a more advanced technology than phone service, but in the 21st century it performs the same essential function,” write the lawmakers in the letter.  “Consumers and businesses cannot live without this vital connection to each other and to the world around them.  Accordingly, it would be appropriate for the FCC to reclassify broadband to reflect the vital role the Internet plays in carrying our most important information and our greatest ideas.”