Senate Republicans 'disappointed' with administration's Internet strategy

Senate Republicans blasted the proposals in the National Broadband Plan for being too heavy-handed during a Commerce Committee hearing Wednesday.

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) pointed out the contradictions of the plan that aims to provide a roadmap for how the country can increase broadband access.

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"The plan begins by saying the government should play a limited role in the ... ecosystem but then comes up with dozens and dozens of recommendations to do the exact opposite," Ensign told FCC chief Julius Genachowski.

He said the plan clearly states that technology and consumer preferences are changing too quickly to make accurate predictions. "But then the plan spends the next 300 pages making predictions in order to justify it's 200 or more recommendations," he said.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), the committee's ranking member, said the broadband plan's suggestion that broadcasters give up more spectrum is not fair, since they already gave up spectrum in last year's digital TV transition.

"It's been very time-consuming and expensive for broadcasters," she said. "Asking for more spectrum is not fair. But what concerns me even more is the agency's reference to involuntary efforts that might require more from broadcasters after they've gone through a very expensive transition."

She's also "disappointed" there are not more incentives for investment in the plan.

"If you look at the history of the regulatory soft touch we've had, it has been a positive for consumers," she said. "It's promoted innovation and more consumer choices at a better price because we've opened the doors rather than having the heavy hand of regulation."