The House Energy & Commerce Committee will not be holding a network neutrality hearing Sept. 7 after all, according to Hill and industry sources familiar with the planned hearing.
Those sources had previously told Broadcasting & Cable that edge providers in particular were not jumping at the invitation, but the source said that extended to both edge providers and ISPs, who were instead offering up association heads as witnesses.
Back in July, House Energy & Commerce Committee chair Greg Walden (R-Ore.) announced the hearing, "Ground Rules for Internet Ecosystems," and invited edge providers including Facebook, Alphabet (Google), Amazon and Netflix and ISPs including Comcast, AT&T, Verizon and Charter. Walden said it was time to hear directly from them.
Related: Comcast Says Congress Should Lay Down Law on Net Neutrality
While the hearing was billed as being postponed for continued talks between the Hill and stakeholders about possible legislation, the source said not to look for it to be rescheduled anytime soon. "Postponed indefinitely" was how one source put it.
Energy & Commerce Committee Republicans have been trying to get the ISPs and edge providers together on compromise legislation to clarify the FCC's broadband regulatory authority, but a compromise bill appears a longshot given the current political climate, particularly on something as high-profile and controversial as the Open Internet debate.
Sept. 7 is still a day for network neutrality watchers to mark anyway since that is when the FCC would customarily release its tentative agenda for the Sept. 28 meeting, in case FCC chair Ajit Pai planned to schedule a vote on his proposal to to reverse Title II classification of ISPs and rethink the bright-line rules against blocking, throttling and paid prioritization.
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.
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