Congress Weighs Legislation That Would Trump FCC Internet Proposal
NEWS ANALYSIS: Congress has scheduled hearings on proposed legislation that would bypass FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's idea of using Title II to regulate the Internet.A proposal as sweeping as moving Internet providers into regulation under Title II of the Communications Act is sure to gather criticism. When Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler announced that he was sending a proposal doing just that to his fellow commissioners, that's exactly what happened. But unlike the usual partisan reactions that characterize any efforts at change in Washington, some of what's being heard is actually constructive criticism. Part of the problem has been that Wheeler chose not to release the actual proposal publicly and instead just sent it as an internal FCC document. Because of this, the first knowledge of what the proposal contained came from Wheeler's own statements, which given the proposal's 300-plus page length were necessarily limited. Now, one of the first people to actually see Wheeler's proposal, another FCC commissioner, has released his thinking on what is in the proposal. Commissioner Ajit Pai, one of the Republican minority members on the commission, has released his own critique of Wheeler's proposal, and as you might expect, he has found things he doesn't like.
According to Pai, the proposal gives the FCC the power to micromanage every aspect of how the Internet works and includes the ability to impose new taxes on the Internet, even though no new taxes are included in the current proposal. In addition, Pai says the Wheeler proposal explicitly contains language giving the FCC power to regulate rates for Internet access.