Upton to White House: Keep Hands Off FCC

House Energy & Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton reacted strongly Thursday to a report in the Wall Street Journal about the degree to which the White House had pushed for Title II regulation.

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler announced Wednesday that new network neutrality rules to be voted on Feb. 26 would be based in Title II common carrier regs, though only a few of them in a "tailored" attempt to restore regs thrown out by a federal court.

The President came close to directing a federal agency to take action in an online video last fall outlining why he thought Title II reclassification was necessary, and even sent an aide to the FCC in advance of that video to let the chairman know it was coming.

The Wall Street Journal pointed to what it called an "unusual, secretive campaign" by a couple of White House staffers to get strong network neutrality rules.

Upton responded: "Tom Wheeler infamously declared to reporters ‘I am an independent agency,’ after the president publicly pushed for heavy regulation of the Internet," Upton said in a statement. "Turns out that wasn’t the case then, it’s not the case now, and the White House needs to get its hands off the FCC. The White House’s efforts to drag the Internet into 1930s regulations is a move that puts the FCC on the fast-lane to the federal courthouse. We have a solution that achieves bipartisan goals to protect an open Internet, satisfying both the president’s and Chairman Wheeler's previously stated requirements.”

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.