Republican senators are asking the FCC to allow companies to compete on price and speed, not price alone.
In a letter sent to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on Monday, the senators argue that while competition could help to create a more efficient and responsive government, competition should not be the sole measure of success.
“The American people are well aware of the importance of ensuring that competition is not the sole determinant of the cost of telecommunications,” the letter reads.
“If competition is permitted, the benefits to consumers will be outweighed by the potential costs to consumers.
It is imperative that competition and a level playing field be preserved, and we believe that Congress should provide the necessary regulatory authority to allow such competition.”
The letter also highlights that the FCC has repeatedly said that competition can only exist in a competitive marketplace.
The senators argue this has led to the FCC allowing for a “free-market system,” which means that prices and speeds are set by the public and not private companies.
Democrats and Republicans on the FCC have been working on a rule to establish a competitive broadband market for years, and a final proposal was released last week.
The FCC has proposed rules for a wireless competition framework, which would include measures such as requiring a minimum number of competitors for any service, but the bill has not yet been voted on.
Republicans argue that the bill will create an unnecessary burden on businesses and that the rules are unnecessary because of recent reforms in telecommunications that have led to fewer competition issues.
“If you want to create more competition, you have to allow more companies to enter into the market,” Republican FCC commissioner Ajit Pai said in an interview with CNBC.
“So I don’t think you need any more regulations than necessary.
There are other ways to do it.”
Republicans argue the FCC should allow for greater competition because the public has grown increasingly frustrated with slow Internet speeds.
Pai also argued that the new competition rules will lead to a “bigger government.”
“We’ve seen a lot of the government taking over our markets,” Pai said.
“And we’re seeing that happen in the wireless marketplace, in the cable and broadband markets, the cable modem market, in all of these markets.”