Blackburn: FTC Could Wind Up De Facto Net Neutrality Arbiter

Tells Agency Its Profile Could Rise 'Damatically' If That's The Case

 Rep. Marsha Blackburn advised the Federal Trade Commission Tuesday that an upcoming decision out of the D.C. Circuit could boost its profile on the Hill.

At an FTC oversight hearing in the House Commerce, Manufacturing & Trade Subcommittee, Blackburn told the commissioners in attendance that if the court throws out the FCC's Open Internet order, the FTC will become the de facto arbiter of network neutrality, saying that would "dramatically increase" attention on the agency.

Commissioner Joshua Wright argued at the hearing that the FTC and its antitrust authority should be the framework for looking at so-called network neutrality. He said that framework, which asks which agreements will hurt and which will harm consumers, is the better approach.

Verizon challenged the FCC rules, and if oral argument was any indication, the court could very well remand its rules back to the commission or throw them out in part of in their entirety.

A decision is expected either this month or next out of the D.C. circuit, according to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler.