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Doyle: Net Neutrality Will Be First Subcommittee Hearing

New House Communications Subcommittee chairman Mike Doyle said Tuesday (Jan. 29) that net neutrality will be the subject of the first subcommittee hearing under his chairmanship.

That came in a speech to the State of the Net conference in Washington.

Doyle led the House effort to roll back the FCC's Restoring Internet Freedom net neutrality dereg order, which was not successful.

Doyle called network neutrality one of the preeminent digital rights issues and said that while that effort came up short, he plans to continue to fight to restore the rules.

Doyle said ISPs have "far too much" control over American's connection to the internet and whether it is slowing Netflix or anticompetitive zero rating plans, the track record of ISPs is clear and consumers need protection.

Doyle did not leave the edge untouched, either. He said Congress needs to look at what companies like Facebook and Twitter are doing, and why. he said Congress needs to continue to ask those questions, but unlike ISPs he had some encouraging words about edge providers as providing the main forums for public discourse and for their innovative services.

Doyle suggested the committee may take a look at satellite operators' proposal to give up some of their C-Band spectrum in private sales where they would collect all the proceeds. Doyle said Congress should ask why the FCC should allow "a group of foreign satellite providers" to "walk away" with billions of dollars--estimated to be as much as $60 billion--that could instead go toward closing the digital divide.

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

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.