Skip to main content

Clyburn Will Make Hill Plea for Open Internet Order

FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn will join House Energy & Commerce Committee Democrats on the Hill Wednesday following a planned speech by FCC chair Ajit Pai about the future of net-neutrality regulation.

Clyburn is the lone remaining FCC commissioner who supported the FCC's 2015 Open Internet order.

Foes of the reversal of the Title II, common-carrier reclassification of ISPs under Democratic FCC chairman Tom Wheeler and President Barack Obama are expecting Pai's speech to lay out the plans for the chairman's expected rollback -- he strongly dissented from the Open Internet order's reclassification -- though some were looking more for a broad brush than a blueprint.

Clyburn has the power to block a rollback, at least temporarily, by not voting the item on circulation, or not showing up at a public meeting where it was scheduled to be voted, or resigning when her term ends at the end of June -- she could stay on until the end of the Congress after this one if she wanted -- or before.

Related: FCC's Clyburn: 'I Still Have Work to Do'

The FCC needs a quorum to approve items and currently is down to three commissioners:, Pai, fellow Republican and Title II reclassification opponent Michael O'Rielly and Clyburn.

Scheduled to appear at the afternoon press conference on the Hill side are ranking member Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Communications Subcommittee ranking member Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) and Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.).

Pai has been discussing net neutrality with telecom trade groups and edge providers, including how a voluntary commitment to openness regime might work.

Supporters of the FCC's Open Internet order, including Democrats on the Hill, have sworn to fight a pitched battle to preserve it, as they did to get the FCC to pivot toward Title II under Wheeler.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.