Communications Act overhaul pledge generates enthusiasm

“Congressional action to update the Communications Act is a clear signal to Chairman Genachowski to stand down on his recently announced plans to reclassify broadband services. Instead of an antiquated regulatory scheme imposed by the FCC, Congress will work to develop a legal and regulatory framework appropriate for our modern communications market," Hutchinson said in a statement. 

"Congress is stepping in to address this issue because without our intervention, the FCC’s proposed regulations could stifle future investment in broadband services."

However, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), one of the chairmen behind the push for legislation, said the process was not intended to undercut the FCC.

"Senator Kerry believes that this process is complimentary to the efforts at the FCC, not a substitute for them," said a spokesperson.

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) also expressed his support for a legislative fix.

“Much of our communications law is based on 19th century railroad regulation, and the last significant update, fourteen years ago, barely mentioned the Internet," Ensign said. "Additionally, with the Chairmen clearly signaling their intent to revisit the Communications Act, the FCC should abandon its misguided attempt to upend settled and successful Internet policy by reclassifying broadband service as a common carrier."

In a statement Monday afternoon the telecom giant AT&T also indicated their preference for congressional action.

"We welcome today's statement by Chairmen [Sen. Jay] Rockefeller [D-W.Va.], [Rep. Henry] Waxman [D-Calif.], Kerry and [Rep. Rick] Boucher [D-Va.] as the beginning of a bipartisan process by Congress to address problems with the Communications Act and to clarify what authority Congress wishes the FCC to have in the Internet space," said AT&T’s senior executive vice president of external and legislative affairs, Jim Cicconi. "As we've said before, questions about the FCC's legal authority should be decided by the Congress itself, and not by applying to the Internet a set of onerous rules designed for a different technology, a different situation, and a different era."