GOP Congressmen Press FCC for Details on Net Neutrality Rules

A week before a vote, chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee says there needs to be more transparency

Last Updated: December 17, 2010 @ 10:21 AM

A trio of Republican congressmen are calling on the Federal Communications Commission to release more details of the net-neutrality regulations it is scheduled to consider next week. 

In a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), the incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Reps. Greg Walden (R-OR) and Lee Terry (R-NE), incoming chairman and vice chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, respectively, said they were worried that new rules would put the technology industry in a stranglehold. 

Saying the rules have "huge implications for the future of the internet, investment, innovation and jobs," they asked Genachowski to release the full text of the draft order on his net neutrality plan.

Facing fierce congressional opposition, Genachowski scheduled a vote on new rule to preserve an open internet for Dec. 21. 

"The serpentine path we have travelled to reach these crossroads also argues for full disclosure," the letter reads. 

The congressmen asked Genachowski to put his proposal out for a short comment cycle to give interest groups an opportunity to submit feedback. 

"You have said that you are simply proposing rules of the road that everyone supports and you have invokes the names of many companies and public interest groups as endorsing the draft," the letter reads. "It is only fair to allow those you say support the proposal to see what it is you say they are supporting."

Genachowski has been trying to advance the cause of net neutrality for much of the past year, but as faced several obstacles. The most significant hurdle was a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling which found that the FCC, which can regulate broadcast TV and telephone landlines, doesn’t have the authority to regulate the internet.

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