Rosenworcel Stands By Net Neutrality Rules

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel exited the FCC continuing to stand by her support of net neutrality rules.

Rosenworcel, who had bipartisan support for re-nomination, was the victim of a partisan fight over nominations in general and had to exit before the new Congress was seated Tuesday (Jan. 3).

In her exit statement, she ranged over various issues, including her work to bridge the digital divide and related homework gap, but also took time to re-plant her flag for net neutrality rules in jeopardy at a Republican-backed FCC.

"I am proud to have been a consistent supporter of network neutrality," she wrote. "Our Internet economy is the envy of the world.  What produced this dynamic engine of entrepreneurship and experimentation is a foundation of openness. Sustaining the openness that has made us innovative, fierce, and creative is vitally important.  Moreover, I believe we have a duty to protect what has made the Internet the most dynamic platform for free speech ever invented. That is why I supported network neutrality rules to prevent online blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization."

Many on both sides of the issue actually supported those rules, or at least accepted them. The controversy was instead over the decision to reclassify ISPs as Title II common carriers to justify those rules.

"Though these policies were not without controversy," she conceded. "[W]hat is uncontroverted is that in response to our work on network neutrality, four million Americans wrote the FCC to make known their ideas, thoughts, and deeply-held opinions about Internet openness. They lit up our phone lines, clogged our e-mail inboxes, and jammed our online comment system.  That might be messy, but whatever our disagreements on network neutrality, I hope we can agree that’s democracy in action and something we can all support."

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.