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FCC Waives Sunshine Rule for Net Neutrality Item

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has waived the sunshine period on his item on new network neutrality rules, giving stakeholders until midnight on the eve of the May 15 vote, but that vote remains on the agenda.

Ordinarily, stakeholders would have to stop pitching their points to FCC staffers and commissioners beginning May 9.

"With respect to the proposed Open Internet Notice of Proposed Rulemaking," the FCC announced, "the Commission has determined that strict enforcement of the Sunshine Period prohibition on comment would place an unnecessarily restrictive burden on the public, who should have full opportunity to express their views. Therefore, the Commission is waiving the Sunshine Period prohibition until 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 with respect to this proceeding."

The move follows a speech by Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel in which she advised the chairman to postpone the vote to let more voices be heard given the volume of criticism of the proposal. As a fallback she said the FCC could at least waive the sunshine period.

Also on the agenda is a vote on a framework for broadcast incentive auctions.