FCC’s Clyburn Calls for Pushback on Title II Rollback

In a speech to Voices for Internet Freedom's Connected Communities: Public Forum on Access and Affordability,FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn talked of the May 18 vote to launch the Republican majority's proposal toroll back Title II classification of ISPs as common carriersand reconsider the need for any rules at all.

"In just a matter of days, the FCC’s majority will tee up an item aimed at dismantling the Open Internet protections that so many Americans fought for and won back in 2015—over 4 million comments were filed to be exact," she said. "So we cannot afford to remain silent."

On his HBO show,Last Week Tonight,Oliver called on his supporters to flood the FCCwith comments in support of Title II and the Open Internet order. In her speech, Clyburn called for action as well, though she stopped short of telling her minions to fly to the aid of an open internet. "If you think these are good ideas, if you have great ideas or concerns of your own, now is your time to make your voice heard. Do not wait until after the vote is taken. Go to our website: fcc.gov or call 888-CALL-FCC," she said. "And with our phone option, you can also file your comment or complaint in Spanish."

Related: Oracle Backs Title II Rollback

"Are you willing to stand up, demand from us, and join forces with those who are willing to fight…" she asked, "Then let's do this….Keep those Voices for Internet Freedom raised and let’s lay out a plan on how best to go forward, starting now."

Clyburn has the power to block the vote temporarily by not showing up for the public meeting May 18, which would deny the quorum needed for a vote. Her office has declined to comment on whether she would exercise that regulatory "nuclear" option.

Earlier in the week, Clyburn signaled FCC chairman Ajit Pai should stand down from his roll-back proposal and let Congress weigh in,pointing outthat had been his advice to the FCC back in 2014 before then-chairman Tom Wheeler, with the help of Clyburn and commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, voted to reclassify.

In the one-pager, she takes quotes from Pai statements at the time and puts them opposite her characterization of how he is approaching the issue now. For example: Pai: “We are not confronted with an immediate crisis that requires immediate action.” Clyburn: "Rushing ahead to repeal net neutrality and Title II without any immediate need to do so."

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.