Responding to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s proposal to regulate the transmission component of broadband networks under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act, ranking House Communications Subcommittee member Cliff Stearns (R-FL) introduced legislation on Tuesday that would require the FCC to conduct studies that prove “market failure” before it takes steps to regulate broadband. To vest the FCC with the authority it needs to implement the National Broadband Plan in the wake of last month’s Comcast/BitTorrent court ruling, Genachowski last week proposed a framework through which only the transmission component of broadband Internet services would be regulated under Title II. Internet content, services, applications and rates would be left in their current unregulated state under the proposed approach. At a press conference on Tuesday, Stearns charged that the FCC’s move “would reverse course and . . . do an end run around Congress, where this issue should and must be debated first.” Terming Genachowski’s plan as “a partisan move . . . to regulate the Internet,” Stearns said his bill, known as the Internet Investment, Innovation and Competition Preservation Act, would prohibit the FCC “from regulating information services or Internet access services absent a market failure.” That market failure would have to be documented in a report to Congress in which the FCC would have to establish that the failure in question is causing specific harms that necessitate regulatory intervention. The FCC would also have to complete and submit to Congress a costbenefit analysis for any Internet-related regulation it deems necessary before such regulation is enacted. Praising the measure, AT&T executive vice president TimMcKone asserted: “at a time when the telecommunications industry is one of the few bright spots in this troubled economy, it’s critical that laws are in place that incent infrastructure investment and job creation, not over regulatory maneuvers that . . . create uncertainty.” Kyle McSlarrow, the president of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, also applauded the bill as one that “recognizes that unprecedented government regulation of the Internet must be a measure of last resort and that our nation’s broadband future depends on continuing policies that promote private investment.”