Tech equipment companies say don't reclassify web

Sixty technology equipment companies sent a letter Wednesday to the Federal Communications Commission urging it not to reclassify broadband Internet as a utility. 

The letter, signed by companies like IBM, Intel and Cisco, asserts the reclassification would stunt broadband investment and further buildout. 


"Just a few years removed from the worst recession in memory, that’s a risk no policymaker should accept, let alone promote," the companies wrote in the letter, which was also sent to leaders in Congress. 

The letter said the slowdown would initially affect technology companies then would spread to the broader economy. 

Separately, more than 100 members of the National Association of Manufacturers sent a similar letter warning that the United States cannot afford regulations "that will cut off incentives to invest in the networks our companies use."

Last month, President Obama called to reclassify broadband as a utility under Title II of the Telecommunications Act to enforce rules requiring all Internet traffic to be treated equally.

The increased authority Obama proposed is meant to prevent Internet providers from blocking or slowing service to any website, while also banning deals that would allow some to pay higher prices for faster speed, known as "fast lanes."

Republicans and telecommunications companies have come out strongly against the recommendation, while trade organizations representing content providers have applauded Obama's plan. 

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has pushed back an announcement of updated proposed rules until next year.