Doyle: Net Neutrality Will Be First Subcommittee Hearing

Pennsylvania Democrat pledges to fight deregulation effort
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WASHINGTON — New House Communications Subcommittee chairman Mike Doyle said Tuesday (Jan. 29) that net neutrality will be the subject of the first subcommittee hearing under his chairmanship.

Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.)

Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.)

That came in a speech to the State of the Net conference in Washington.

Doyle (D-Pa.) led the unsuccessful House effort to roll back the Federal Communications Commission's Restoring Internet Freedom net neutrality deregregulation order.

Doyle called network neutrality one of the pre-eminent digital rights issues, and said that while that effort came up short, he plans to continue to fight to restore the rules.

Doyle said internet-service providers have "far too much" control over Americans' connection to the internet. Whether it is slowing Netflix or anticompetitive zero-rating plans, the track record of ISPs is clear, he said, and consumers need protection.

Doyle did not leave the edge untouched, either. He said Congress needs to look at what edge providers like Facebook and Twitter are doing and why. He said Congress needs to continue to ask those questions, but unlike ISPs he had some encouraging words about edge providers as providing the main forums for public discourse and for their innovative services.

Doyle suggested the committee may take a look at satellite operators' proposal to give up some of their C-Band spectrum in private sales where they would collect all the proceeds. Doyle said Congress should ask why the FCC should allow "a group of foreign satellite providers" to "walk away" with billions of dollars — estimated to be as much as $60 billion — that could instead go toward closing the digital divide.