Excerpts from correspondence sent this week by six Republican U.S. Senators to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler regarding the Commission’s definition of broadband.

“We write to note our concern with your recently announced proposal to find that “advanced telecommunications capability” – a phrase you recognize is synonymous with “broadband” – is not being deployed to all Americans in a “reasonable and timely fashion” under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act. We understand that the basis for your proposal is that, despite the billions of dollars that have been invested in broadband deployment in recent years, which has resulted in ever-increasing broadband speeds, some number of Americans lack access to broadband at the “FCC’s benchmark speed of 25Mbps for downloads, 3 Mbps for uploads.” We are concerned that this arbitrary 25/3 Mbps benchmark fails to accurately capture what most Americans consider broadband, the use of this benchmark discourages broadband providers from offering speeds at or above the benchmark, the definition contradicts the “broadband” definition the Commission used in its Open Internet Order, and that the Commission uses an entirely different benchmark when it comes to rural America.”

“More importantly, you have indicated that because fewer providers offer speeds of 25/3 Mbps or greater, more regulation may be appropriate for providers that offer such speeds. By suggesting that offering speeds at or above 25/3 will subject a provider to additional regulation, we fear that you are putting in place disincentives for providers to offer these higher speeds – a result that no one wants.”