Eshoo Calls for FCC to Pull RIF Remand Item

Exterior of the FCC building in Washington, D.C.
(Image credit: FCC)

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) wants FCC Chaiman Ajit Pai to pull next week's public meeting item responding to a court remand of a portion of the FCC's Restoring Internet Freedom (RIF) order. 

Related: Court Upholds Most of FCC ISP Dereg

The RIF order lifted bans on blocking, throttling and paid prioritization.

The court asked the FCC to better explain the impact of the FCC's internet access deregulation on "(1) public safety; (2) the regulation of pole attachments; and (3) universal service support for low-income consumers through the Lifeline program."

Eshoo is particularly concerned about the public safety issue.

"California is experiencing the most horrific wildfire season in history, and I’m deeply concerned that the FCC is ignoring its mandate to protect public safety as required by statute and by a federal court,” Eshoo wrote Pai according to a copy of the letter. “On October 6, 2020, you published a proposal for the Commission to consider on October 27, 2020, that essentially says the FCC’s 2018 repeal didn’t actually miss anything with respect to public safety. This proposal ignores what the D.C. Circuit highlighted as serious shortcomings of the back in 2018 that the throttling of its data while it tried to fight the Mendocino Complex Fire was a threat to life, a complaint that was included in net neutrality activists' appeal of the FCC's net neutrality rollback."

Related: NCTA Says RIF Order Is on Firm Ground

Eshoo is unlikely to get her wish that the item be pulled.

Pai said, in explaining the FCC response to the remand teed up for the October meeting, the item addressed the court's issues and "affirms that the FCC stands by the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, consistent with the practical reality consumers have experienced since December 2017 of an internet economy that is better, stronger and freer than ever."

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.