Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 28, 2015

Posts in "Net Neutrality"

March 23, 2015

The Week Ahead: Internet of Things, Net Neutrality and More

Members of the Federal Communications Commission are back on the Hill this week, with Chairman Tom Wheeler and commissioner Ajit Pai testifying in budget and net neutrality hearings. Hearings and events on the Internet of Things are also on tap in the week ahead.

Monday

Georgetown University holds a panel discussion on discrimination and big data.

Tuesday

The Brookings Institution hosts a discussion with Craig Silliman, Verizon’s general counsel and executive vice president for public policy, on updating communications law and regulations.

An Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on the Internet of Things.

A House Appropriations subcommittee holds an FCC budget hearing.

A House Science, Space and Technology subcommittee holds a hearing on the James Webb Space Telescope.

A Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee holds a hearing on drones.

Wednesday

A House Judiciary subcommittee holds a hearing on abusive patent litigation.

The House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the FCC’s net neutrality rules.

Thursday

The FCC holds an open meeting.

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on spectrum policy.

Microsoft holds a panel discussion on the Internet of Things.

New America holds an event on mobile health data.

The Telecommunications Industry Association hosts an event on the Internet of Things.

March 16, 2015

The Week Ahead: Hearings on FCC Oversight, Cybersecurity

Members of the Federal Communications Commission testify on the Hill this week. Cybersecurity and data security and breach notification are among the topics of other congressional hearings this week.

Tuesday

A House Appropriations subcommittee holds a budget hearing on the National Science Foundation.

A House Armed Services subcommittee holds a hearing titled “Assuring Assured Access to Space.”

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee holds a hearing titled “FCC: Process and Transparency” on the commission’s process for developing its recently adopted net neutrality rules, where FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is scheduled to testify.

Wednesday

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on a data security and breach notification discussion draft bill.

A House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee holds a cybersecurity hearing.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee holds an FCC oversight hearing where the FCC’s five commissioners are scheduled to testify.

Thursday

The Free State Foundation holds its telecom policy conference titled “The Future of the Internet: Free Market Innovation or Government Control?”

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds an FCC oversight hearing, where the panel will hear from all five FCC commissioners.

The House Intelligence Committee holds a cybersecurity hearing.

A Senate Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on cybersecurity risk insurance.

March 12, 2015

FCC Released Text of Net Neutrality Rules and Municipal Broadband Order

In case you missed it, the Federal Communications Commission released the text of their net neutrality rules earlier Thursday. Commissioners voted on the rules in a 3-2 party line vote on Feb. 26. The lengthy document totals 400 pages, including commissioner statements (Republican Ajit Pai’s dissent was 64-pages long). The rules aren’t in effect yet, though. According to an FCC senior official, the rules go into effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, except for the enhanced transparency requirements that go through review by the Office of Management and Budget. CQ subscribers can read the story here.

The FCC also released the text of their order preempting parts of Tennessee and North Carolina state law that restrict municipal broadband.

March 2, 2015

The Week Ahead: American Cable Association Summit and Budget, Cybersecurity Hearings

The American Cable Association holds its summit and congressional committees hold cybersecurity hearings as well as budget hearings on NASA, the Federal Communications Commission and the Commerce Department this week.

Monday

Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology discusses net neutrality at the American Enterprise Institute.

The Center for Strategic & International Studies hosts a panel event on the Internet of Things and the transportation industry.

The German Marshall Fund of the United States hosts an event titled “Internet Freedom 2.1: Lessons from Asia’s Developing Democracies.”

Tuesday

A House Appropriations subcommittee holds a Commerce Department budget hearing.

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee has a cybersecurity hearing.

Wednesday

The American Cable Association holds its summit, which continues on Thursday.

The Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the Innovation Alliance, the Medical Device Manufacturers Association, and the National Venture Capital Association host a patent event.

A House Appropriations subcommittee holds a NASA budget hearing.

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing titled “Reauthorization of the Federal Communications Commission: The FCC’s FY 2016 Budget Request.”

A House Homeland Security subcommittee holds a hearing titled “Industry Perspectives on the President’s Cybersecurity Information Sharing Proposal.”

New America hosts an event on technology and disability.

Thursday

The House Intelligence Committee holds a cybersecurity hearing.

A Senate Appropriations subcommittee holds a hearing on NASA’s fiscal 2016 budget request.

Friday

USTelecom hosts a cybersecurity event.

February 27, 2015

Weekly Wrapup: Net Neutrality and City-Owned Broadband

The Federal Communications Commission took historic action this week to claim broader regulatory authority over broadband service providers, reclassifying broadband service under a 1934 law that governs common carriers. Your Weekly Wrapup includes posts on the FCC’s net neutrality rules, city-owned broadband and a tax bill in Oregon that state lawmakers hope will attract Google Fiber and others.

FCC Approves Net Neutrality Rules

Net Neutrality Meeting Highlights

Walden Wants “Better Path” on Net Neutrality

FCC Republicans Call for Delay in Net Neutrality Vote

Twitter Praises Wheeler’s Net Neutrality Proposal

Net Neutrality Wasn’t the Only Item the FCC Voted on Thursday

Oregon Senate Panel Advances Tax Bill that Lawmakers Hope Will Attract Google Fiber and Others

A Look at the FCC’s Rules Seeking to Improve 911 Call Location Accuracy

February 26, 2015

Net Neutrality Meeting Highlights

In case you missed Thursday’s historic Federal Communications Commission vote on net neutrality rules, here are some highlights.

Tom Wheeler:

“Today’s order is more powerful and more expansive than any previously considered or… suggested.”

“The Internet is the most powerful and pervasive platform on the planet. It’s simply too important to be left without rules and without a referee on the field.”

“This proposal has been described by one opponent as, quote, a secret plan to regulate the Internet. Nonsense. This is no more a plan to regulate the Internet than the First Amendment is a plan to regulate free speech.”

“It is important for consumers as well as companies that nothing in today’s order alters the economic model for continued network expansion. An ISP’s revenue stream will be the same tomorrow as it was yesterday.”

Mignon Clyburn:

“We worked closely with the chairman’s office to strike an appropriate balance, and yes it is true that significant changes were made at my office’s request including the elimination of a sender-side classification, but I firmly believe that these items have strengthened this item.”

“So for those in a panic about rate regulation, there are millions who can testify to… how high the bar is to when it comes to the FCC intervening… when it comes to rates and charges.”

Jessica Rosenworcel:

“The result honors the creative, collaborative and open Internet envisioned by those who were there at the start.”

Ajit Pai:

“We are flip-flopping for one reason and one reason only – President Obama told us to do so.”

“So, the FCC is abandoning a 20-year bipartisan framework for keeping the Internet free and open in favor of great Depression- era legislation designed to regulate Ma Bell. But at least we’re getting something in return, right? Wrong. The Internet is not broken. There is no problem for the government to solve.”

“To start, the commission’s decision to adopt President Obama’s plan marks a monumental shift toward government control of the Internet. It gives the FCC the power to micromanage virtually every aspect of how the Internet works.”

“One facet of that control is rate regulation.

Michael O’Rielly:

“Today, the majority of the commission attempts to usurp the authority of Congress by rewriting [ the] Communications Act to suit its own values and political ends. The item claims to forbear from certain monopoly-era Title II regulations but reserving the right to impose them using other provisions or at some point in the future. The commission abdicates its role as an expert agency by defining and classifying services based on unsupported and unreasonable findings.”

“Net neutrality is now the pretext for deploying Title II as far greater extent than anyone could have imagined just months ago.”

FCC Approves Net Neutrality Rules

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday approved net neutrality rules in a 3-2 vote that would reclassify broadband service as a public utility under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act.

The panel vote comes roughly a year after a federal appeals court struck down the bulk of 2010 net neutrality rules and the process for drafting new rules has drawn much public attention. The new set of rules is expected to draw litigation.

The rules would reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act, the same portion of law the agency uses to regulate phone companies and other common carriers, and it would prohibit broadband providers from blocking content, throttling traffic or engaging in paid prioritization. The rules would fully apply to mobile broadband. In addition, the agency would have enforcement authority over interconnection actions.

Chairman Tom Wheeler said Thursday’s action was an “irrefutable reflection of the principal that no one, whether government or corporate, should control free and open access to the Internet.”

“This proposal has been described by one opponent as, quote, a secret plan to regulate the Internet. Nonsense,” he later said. “This is no more a plan to regulate the Internet than the First Amendment is a plan to regulate free speech.”

Republican commissioners gave lengthy statements in opposition, including Ajit Pai saying:

But if this order manages to survive judicial review, these will be the consequences: higher broadband prices, slower broadband speeds, less broadband deployment, less innovation and fewer options for American consumers. Put simply, President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet is not the solution to a problem. His plan is the problem. This order imposes intrusive government regulations that won’t work to solve a problem that doesn’t exist using legal authority the FCC doesn’t have.

By Anne L. Kim Posted at 1:56 p.m.
Net Neutrality

February 25, 2015

Walden Wants “Better Path” on Net Neutrality

The top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee with jurisdiction over tech said Wednesday that he hopes that once “everybody has a chance to digest” the text of net neutrality rules the Federal Communications Commission will vote on Thursday, “maybe we will find that there’s a better approach and path and that would be by legislating.” 

The proposed rules to be voted on by the FCC would reclassify broadband as a public utility under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act, a move that’s drawn Republican ire and praise from Democrats. Senate and House GOP committee leaders released draft legislation last month that would bar broadband service providers from blocking content, throttling traffic and entering into deals to give priority to some content, while at the same time writing into law the FCC’s current classification of broadband as an ‘information service.” It hasn’t gotten Democratic support.

On Wednesday, Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, told reporters after a net neutrality hearing that “it’s too early to tell when we might move” on legislation, noting that he was waiting to see the agency’s rules.

“And then we have to all take time to absorb what they really did and hear from people about… the implications of the order,” he said.

Responding to a reporter’s question about how optimistic he was about getting Democrats on board, he said he anticipated that once the agency acts, perhaps some Democrats might be “freed up” to be more engaged legislatively, but deflected a reporter’s question on why he thought that would be the case, saying it was a question for Democrats.

“It’s not for lack of trying on our part,” he said. “This effort started back in December with multiple meetings and outreaches, but … has gone nowhere yet.”

“I’m hopeful when everybody has a chance to digest the… actual language of the FCC’s order, that maybe we will find that there’s a better approach and path and that would be by legislating,” he said.

February 23, 2015

FCC Republicans Call for Delay in Net Neutrality Vote

The Federal Communications Commission’s two Republican members on Monday called for delaying Thursday’s scheduled vote on net neutrality rules for at least 30 days to give the public and the commission more time to review them, but FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler showed no sign of agreeing.

Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly said in a statement Monday:

We respectfully request that FCC leadership immediately release the 332-page Internet regulation plan publicly and allow the American people a reasonable period of not less than 30 days to carefully study it. Then, after the Commission reviews the specific input it receives from the American public and makes any modifications to the plan as appropriate, we could proceed to a final vote.

“Transparency is particularly important here because the plan in front of us right now is so drastically different than the proposal the FCC adopted and put out for public comment last May,” they said in their statement.

Wheeler’s spokesperson, Kim Hart, said he had circulated his proposal to his commission colleagues three weeks before the scheduled vote:

“The FCC has received unprecedented levels of public comment on a variety of options for Open Internet rules over the past year through an open and transparent proceeding, producing a record of more than 4 million comments.  In accordance with long-standing FCC process followed in both Democratic and Republican administrations, Chairman Wheeler circulated his proposal to his fellow Commissioners for review three weeks before the scheduled vote. The Chairman has seriously considered all input he has received on this important matter, including feedback from his FCC colleagues.”

Wheeler had rebuffed calls from congressional Republicans to release a copy of the hotly debated regulations the commission will vote on, saying that to do so would violate longstanding precedent.

Wheeler wrote on Feb. 2 that he wanted to “give commissioners a three-week period to discuss in confidence the substance of an item before final decisions are released.”

The chairman proposes that the FCC claim authority to regulate the Internet as a utility under a 1934 law it uses to regulate telecommunications companies. Under that authority, the FCC would then require that the providers adhere to net neutrality, which would bar them from charging content creators to deliver their Web pages more quickly or seamlessly than other content.

Twitter Praises Wheeler’s Net Neutrality Proposal

Twitter executives on Monday praised the net neutrality proposal slated to be voted on by the Federal Communications Commission later this week.

In a blog post titled “Why Twitter faves #NetNeturality,” Will Carty, the company’s public policy manager, describes FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s net neutrality proposal as one that “will put vital consumer and competitive protections back on the books to ensure an open Internet and continue U.S. leadership in Internet policymaking.”

He also writes:

Through The Internet Association, Twitter has joined other leading Internet companies to urge the FCC to promulgate common sense net neutrality rules. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has proposed securing the legal foundation for these rules in Title II of the Communications Act (along with other statutory authority). We strongly support ensuring that such rules include prohibitions against blocking or throttling of sites and services as well as the paid prioritization of some traffic over others. These rules should govern Internet service whether users are at their desk at home or on their smartphone across town.

In moving forward, the FCC is also wisely avoiding unnecessary and overly burdensome regulation. The Commission is embracing the same kind of “light touch” regulatory approach that the Congress and the Commission has pursued with respect to wireless services since the 1990s. We’re also pleased that in recent weeks on Capitol Hill, we’ve seen a return to bipartisan support for net neutrality rules. We welcome the discussion of possible statutory rules that could codify these principles.

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