Senators Want Public Comment on Net Neutrality Complaints

A group of Democratic senators has joined in a call for the FCC to allow for public "review and comment" on tens of thousands of network neutrality complaints provided through a FOIA request in May, saying the FCC has not provided sufficient opportunity to vet them.

They said the documents were only produced a few days before the August Open Internet Order proceeding deadline and were only posted to the FCC website last week.

FCC chair Ajit Pai has proposed rolling back theTitle II classification of ISPsand rethinking the rules against blocking, throttling and paid prioritization.

Related: Groups Push FCC for Net Neutrality Complaint Info

“Although the Commission has undertaken an historic proceeding to undo the Open Internet Order, the FCC has failed to provide stakeholders with an opportunity to comment on the tens of thousands of filed complaints that directly shed light on proposed changes to existing net neutrality protections,” they wrote ina letter to FCC chair Ajit Pai. “The public deserves an opportunity to review and analyze evidence that has a direct impact on the proceeding.”

The senators want Pai to tell them what efforts the FCC has taken to analyze the complaints, responses from ISPs and other documents, how it will incorporate them into the record and when, whether the FCC will issue a public notice and comment cycle on them.

Signing on to the letter were Senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), all fans of not rolling back Title II or reconsidering the rules.

The letter follows a request by the National Hispanic Media Coalition, which filed the FOIA request ,for the FCC to release more info, as well as to provide for time for public comment ( the National Hispanic Media Coalition and almost two dozen other groups for some output from the FCC.

(Photo via Rock1997Image taken on Jan. 18, 2017 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 16x9 aspect ratio.)

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.