FCC chief pressed to release proposed regulations governing so-called ‘net neutrality’

“A key Republican lawmaker in Congress called for Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler to make proposed net neutrality regulations public before a planned Thursday vote on the measure,” Mike Snider reports for The USA Today. “In the latest wrinkle in the Republicans’ battle to quash Wheeler’s proposals, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who’s also the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, sent a letter today to Wheeler, questioning whether the FCC has been “independent, fair and transparent” in crafting the rules to protect content on the Internet. ‘Although arguably one of the most sweeping new rules in the commission’s history, the process was conducted without using many of the tools at the chairman’s disposal to ensure transparency and public review,’ he said.”

“Chaffetz urged Wheeler to publicly release the 332-page draft order that was given to the other four commissioners nearly three weeks ago and appear at a House Oversight hearing Wednesday before a vote at the FCC’s monthly meeting Thursday,” Snider reports. “Also today, FCC commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly too asked for Wheeler to release the proposal to the public and postpone the Thursday vote to allow for 30 days of public comment.”

“Consumer advocates supported the use of Title II of The Communications Act to regulate ISPs as if the Net were a utility, as is traditional telephone service. But critics say that could give the FCC too much regulatory power,” Snider reports. “Draft congressional legislation proposes a measure that supporters say would be less intrusive because it doesn’t rely on Title II, but would still ban ISPs from blocking or deliberately slowing content, as well as prohibiting paid prioritization for fast lanes. Earlier this month, FCC commissioner Pai called for Wheeler to make the net neutrality proposal public. ‘With the future of the entire Internet at stake, it is imperative that the FCC get this right,’ he and O’Rielly said in their statement today. ‘And to do that, we must live up to the highest standards of transparency.'”

Read more in the full article here.

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Congress launches investigation as Republicans claim Obama had ‘improper influence’ over so-called ‘net neutrality’ – February 7, 2015
FCC chairman proposes to regulate ISP’s under Title II – February 4, 2015
U.S. congressional Republicans’ bill aims to head off Obama’s so-called ‘net neutrality’ plan – January 17, 2015
U.S. Congressional proposal offers Internet rules of the road – January 15, 2015
U.S. FCC says it will vote on so-called ‘net neutrality’ in February – January 3, 2015
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U.S. House Speaker John Boehner: Republicans will continue efforts to stop misguided scheme to regulate the Internet – November 10, 2014
Tech Freedom: Obama cynically exploits confusion over Title II, misses opportunity to lead on legislative deal – November 10, 2014
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27 Comments

  1. What total crap and grand standing!

    The vote that is planned for this Thursday is a procedural vote by the 5 commissioners. It will likely go along party lines: 2 Republicans voting against it and 3 Democrats voting for it. It does not actually implement anything at all. It just sets up that the FCC is formally behind the proposal. Then it goes to various other stages of review — including posting the proposal publicly and getting public comments.

    Both the Republican commissioners and this Republican Member of the House know this too. They are just grand standing trying to get people to falsely believe that the FCC will pass this without any public notice at all and, further, implement ALL the Title II rules. Both are patently false and they know it.

    Even if all five commissioners voted for it this week (they won’t) it will be six months or more before it is implemented — and even if all five vote for it, it might not survive all the subsequent reviews and comment periods something like this is *required* to endure.

    1. Yeah! This Republican commissioner is just grandstanding. The very idea that the FCC should publish the new rules before they are voted on is preposterous. Why should users of the internet be given any idea what is happening? Obama was elected to do whatever he feels like. And he does not have to tell us before he issues commands. That is the whole idea of a dictator- you get to order people around without them having any input. These Republicans who think the people are somehow entitled to review laws or regulations before they are shoved down their throats are just stupid. They should just shut up and do what they are told to do.

          1. It will be released according to the existing established procedure. It CANNOT be released earlier (i.e. before FCC votes to push it forward). That would be in violation of procedure.

      1. Did you not read the explanation above? The upcoming vote is procedural. It does NOT implement anything. There is no reason anyone should review anything now. The review (an extensive one, by the public) comes later in the process. You obviously bought the entire grandstanding lure.

        1. Regardless of ‘grandstanding’ or stadium seating–release it to the public. We WANT to see what these clowns are wanting foist on us. Plain and simple. If there’s nothing to hide, release it and it’s done.

          1. If you give it a chance, it will be released to the public the exact same way any other new rule gets released to the public. There is a straightforward (if a bit long) procedure for these. This rule is neither first nor last that went through it. The public will likely have many months to carefully examine and comment on this before the time comes to vote on it.

            The idiot politicians are taking advantage of complete ignorance of vast majority of public to turn this into some sinister government ploy, when it is not — FCC is simply doing this the way it is supposed to be done, and the way has always been done, and nobody is hiding anything.

            Once FCC officially signs off on the new rule proposal, it will be going to the next step of the rule-making process. One of the steps along the way will be long and extensive public review. That step is NOT today; it is ahead.

        2. We just remember Grand Nan saying “We have to pass the bill so you can see what’s in it.” Next thing was a rush to pass the bill before the people had a chance to read it and before Republican Scott Brown arrived in Washington to stop it. The People should have a say in whether this should even go forward as the issue is being voted on by an unelected commission that the Executive Branch controls. If you think this sounds far-right, imagine the chaos that will ensue if/when a Republican takes the White House – that’s the Executive Branch. It is fitting and proper that the electorate should be informed at every interval of what will likely be a sweeping change in regulation that will affect all our lives and futures – left and right.

          1. Well, if you truly believe that, then the current rules of procedure will have to be changed. The obvious problem with such change I can see now is that the procedure for implementation of rules, which is already long and convoluted, would become impossibly protracted, if at every single step they have to wait for public review.

            While one can certainly argue that more transparency throughout the process is better, I think there is nothing to be taken away from the public if the initial draft, and the first official approval of that draft, didn’t have to go through the public review process, before it is essentially brought again to the public review.

            Remember, you can easily get the opposite effect from requiring too many reviews along the way — those who are supposed to be reviewing will be simply be too tired from looking at the same document so many times in the process.

            This whole discussion seems to be the result of a few politicians grabbing the attention of ignorant public in order to score political points with their base.

            1. Congress has a rule that bills have to be available for online viewing for 48 hours before they’re voted on. They’ve violated that for 7 years now under Republican and Democrat majorities. My concern is that the people’s freedoms are being eroded. Look at the Patriot Act – straight out of the right wing and we got the NSA into everything with it. The ACA was supposed to decrease the cost of healthcare and bring uninsured on – instead we got the blundered roll-out, hidden costs and taxes, increased insurances and a mandate that every citizen must purchase a product for the first time in the nation’s history straight out of the left wing. At this point, I hope for a govt shutdown to slow down all of this crap. The govt is all about control and I’m from the generation who doesn’t trust it for a second. It’s time that the people start violating some rules considering the pace at which the rule-makers violate their own rules… except when it’s to their benefit as in this case.

    2. Well said: such documentation is classically FOIA exempt because it is known as “pre-decisional”. However, once a formal vote is cast, then this FOIA exemption no longer applies.

  2. AND, MDN needs to get its head out of the sand (or elsewhere) and realize there really is such a thing as net neutrality. It’s not “so called ‘net neutrality'”.

    Net neutrality is very simple. Once a bit leaves the provider’s server until it gets to the end user’s server or desktop (if a home user) A BIT IS A BIT AND ALL BITS ARE TREATED THE SAME. The only exception is illegal traffic such as child pornography or death threats or such.

    It’s a very simple thing to describe. It’s only because businesses want thousands of exceptions to this simple concept that the commission’s draft proposal is 332 pages long.

    Back when the first four universities turned on the first “Internet” (DARPANet), all bits were treated the same. We need to get back to that.

      1. All bits are created equal but some bits are more equal than others!

        We all know that ‘one bits’ are better than ‘zero bits’. We need to relegate the zero bits to the back of the bus and make them use their own pulse regenerators. No more calling them ‘aughts’ or or worse, the N word (Naught).

    1. Yeah! This Republican commissioner is just grandstanding. The very idea that the FCC should publish the new rules before they are voted on is preposterous. Why should users of the internet be given any idea what is happening? Obama was elected to do whatever he feels like. And he does not have to tell us before he issues commands. That is the whole idea of a dictator- you get to order people around without them having any input. These Republicans who think the people are somehow entitled to review laws or regulations before they are shoved down their throats are just stupid. They should just shut up and do what they are told to do.

      1. Try not to repeat yourself. I wasted enough time reading as far as “Obama” the first time you posted it. Here’s a hint: As soon as you use the words “Obama”, “Democrat”, “Republican”, “liberal”, or “right-wing” most people stop reading.

        1. The truth bears repeating. You are right. Americans don’t have any right to a free internet. The only thing they have a right to is Obama’s boot on their neck. Hey, he got elected by the people with Che posters on their wall and people who think Fidel is a freedom fighter. So, just get used to banana republic economics. Zeke – you can make money selling tshirts,

          1. And a blind squirrel does occasionally find a nut.

            Here, it is that Kent and it’s that the public does not presently have a right to the internet … and that’s because it current **isn’t** a Title II regulated public utility.

            1. Yeah. That’s why Obama has the right to do what he wants with it all by himself with nobody getting to even know before he seizes control of it. You are not a blind squirrel – you a one of Lenin’s useless idiot. And you are letting a Marxist Muslim steal our internet.

            2. You are clearly uninformed here. Again the upcoming vote does NOT implement ANYTHING. it just finalists official endorsement of the proposal by the FCC. The proposal will have plenty of very public review and revision before it goes for the final vote. It will be months, perhaps even years before that.

              But don’t let the truth get in the way of your government-bashing.

            3. @Predrag, the unfortunate reality is that “kent” is worse than uninformed: he refuses to acknowledge anything that risks being contrary to his echo chamber.

              And I noticed the same thing happened with my comment on the FOIA regulations: I’m merely stating facts on just how those laws operate..but it nevertheless received downvotes because of what? Because people don’t like the law? That’s a “Shoot the Messenger” fallacy.

            4. You assume that kent is sentient, all evidence to the contrary. He’s just a bot designed to troll the comments. It reminds me of the old core-wars games I played as a kid. But they were fun; kent is merely bits wasting bandwidth. Wait a minute! Maybe all bits are not created equal! 😆

  3. These days the question is WHO will ‘regulate’ the Internet more: The ISP Corporate Oligarchy, who has consistently proven themselves to consider the Internet nothing but an excuse to abuse their customers (hello Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Verizon, AT&T), or the conspicuously incompetent #MyStupidGovernment who has consistently proven themselves to be puppets of The Media Corporate Oligarchy who consider regulating the Internet an opportunity to abuse their customers by treating them as default criminals, out to steal media, thereby requiring both surveillance and insane, life destroying fines.

    Or …
    Or …
    Or …

    Meanwhile, We The People have pointed out, to the tune of about 4 million message to the FCC, that we want NO ONE messing with actual, real Net Neutrality. Keep your damned mitts off and let us do what WE want, to hell with what YOU want, powers that be.

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