CTIA and Verizon expressed alarm over FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s proposal to reclassify broadband under Title II of the Communications Act.

CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent said in a statement that he was “disappointed” with the announcement. “This complex, interdependent ecosystem is currently thriving to the benefit to all Americans,” he said. “Putting that success at risk is unnecessary and dangerous, particularly in today's economic environment.” 

Verizon Wireless didn’t issue a direct statement on the issue but its co-parent Verizon Communications blasted Genachowski’s proposal. 

“Today’s FCC announcement raises obvious concerns about whether the chairman is suggesting a path that could ultimately harm consumers and inhibit the innovation and investment he wants to encourage,” Tom Tauke, executive vice president of public affairs for policy and communications at Verizon, said in a statement.

Tauke argued that the Title II regulations under which broadband transmissions will be placed are outmoded. “Those regulations were designed for different services delivered by different networks in different times,” he said.

He also suggested that the FCC’s proposal wouldn’t hold up to legal scrutiny, calling Genachowski’s approach to net neutrality “legally unsupported.” 

Tauke said the FCC will face a legal battle over its net neutrality regulations, although he stopped short of saying Verizon would turn to the courts over the issue. “The regulatory and judicial proceedings that will ensue can only bring confusion and delay to the important work of continuing to build the nation’s broadband future,” he said. 

Genachowski believes that reclassifying only the transmission component of broadband service will place net neutrality “on the soundest legal foundation, thereby eliminating as much of the current uncertainty as possible.”

AT&T and Sprint did not immediately reply to requests for comment. 

Earlier today, the FCC said it wanted to use a bare-bones version of Title II reclassification to gain the legal authority to enforce net neutrality guidelines. 

The impetus for the reclassification came after a judge in the FCC vs. Comcast case ruled the FCC lacked legal authority to enforce net neutrality guidelines because broadband Internet was classified as an information service under Title I of the Communications Act.