House troubled by new FCC rules
U.S. Representatives expressed their doubts towards newly proposed FCC regulations that take a middle-road approach to open internet.
In today's House of Representatives hearing, Federal Communication Commission (FCC) chairman Tom Wheeler sat and listened to more than an hour of criticism against newly proposed regulations that were an attempt at compromise between open internet and anti-regulation advocates.
The new rules would allow internet service providers to charge extra fees for faster web speeds, while also banning them from slowing down speeds. The FCC addressed its own vague language and unclear definitions by adding that the commission will individually review cases to determine whether policies are discriminatory or not. The commission's rules on open internet were released for public comment—but first came the House.
"I don't want this to become an auction, selling off the best in bits and pieces where some pay for faster lanes, while others cannot pay and get stick in a slow lane," Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Cali.) said in her critique of the new rules.
"The internet has flourished under the current light-touch regulatory scheme," Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said. "Subjecting it to burdensome regulations is a leap in the wrong direction."
Earlier this year, a high court ruled that the FCC did not have authority to regulate internet service providers the same way that phone service providers are regulated. In the face of pressure from advocates and web giants, the FCC has attempted to take back some of its control to institute net neutrality, a principle that all content providers and users should have equal access to the internet.
Representatives also called for more hearings on the potential impacts of massive planned mergers, such as Comcast and Time Warner or recently announced AT&T and DirecTV, which could change the market and the future of the internet.