A House Divided Pushes Pai on Net Rule Rollback

FCC chairman Ajit Pai's inbox was filling up with letters from the Hill Wednesday (Dec. 13) on the eve of the planned vote to roll back net neutrality regs.

On the Republican side, House Energy & Commerce Committee chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Communications Subcommittee chair Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) were the lead names on a letter with over 100 signatures from House Republicans.

“We write today in support of the Federal Communications Commission’s plan to restore Internet freedom by reversing the prior Commission’s decision to regulate broadband Internet service under Title II of the Communications Act, a statutory scheme created for the monopoly telephone carriers of a bygone era," they told the FCC. "This proposal is a major step forward in the effort to clear the way for the substantial investment necessary to advance our Internet architecture for the next generation and close the digital divide."

As to calls to delay the vote, they had a simple answer: "The records is exhaustive, very viewpoint is well represented, and the time has come for the commission to act."

Related: Senate Dems to Pai: Abandon Reckless 'Net Dereg Plan

Not to be outdone, 117 Democratic members of the House, led by the ranking members of the same committee and subcommittee, send their own letter.

They had their own simple message: "We urge you to delay consideration of this item and remove it from the December agenda."

Elsewhere on the "delay the vote" front, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel renewed her call for tabling the item.

“This is crazy. Two million people have had their identities stolen in an effort to corrupt our public record," she said, referring to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman finding that two million stolen identities were used to file comments in the net neutrality docket. "Nineteen Attorneys General from across the country have asked us to delay this vote so they can investigate. And yet, in less than 24 hours we are scheduled to vote on wiping out our net neutrality protections. We should not vote on any item that is based on this corrupt record. I call on my colleagues to delay this vote so we can get to the bottom of this mess.”

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.