Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said in light of a report in The Wall Street Journal and the suggestion the FCC's new network neutrality order " may have been written behind closed doors at the White House," the commission should delay its Feb. 26 vote on reclassifying Internet access as a common carrier service under Title II.
"Chairman Wheeler should delay the FCC Net Neutrality vote scheduled for Feb. 26," said Blackburn. "There is much at stake, as Title II regulations will lead to billions of dollars in new fees and taxes. The seriousness of these allegations require Chairman Wheeler’s attention beyond a mere statement or press release in order to assure the public that the FCC was not unduly influenced by the White House.”
FCC officials defending the order have pointed out that it goes beyond what the President had asked for-- including interconnections between edge provider/CDNs and ISPs as well as customer-facing service -- and that the chairman had been pivoting toward Title II before the President publicly called for it. They have called his change from is initial non-Title II-based proposal an evolution.
But Blackburn saw it differently.
"“Chairman Wheeler indicated early on in this process a strong desire to follow the ‘blueprint’ set forth by the D.C. Circuit Court in Verizon v. FCC," said Blackburn. "He even referred to the decision as an ‘invitation’ that he ‘intended to accept’. Those comments make his sudden change of course more unusual and suspicious. The FCC is an independent agency and we expect them to operate as such."
House and Senate Republicans have suggested the FCC back off a vote while they work on legislation they argue would protect against paid prioritization or blocking and throttling of content, but without the Title II reclassification they say could result in rate regulation, government micromanagement of network management, less innovation and investment, and more.