Commissioner Rosenworcel Wants FCC To Slow Down On Net Neutrality Rule Changes
May 7, 2014 at 3:49 PM (PT)
FCC Commissioner JESSICA ROSENWORCEL took the occasion of a speech to a meeting of the CHIEF OFFICERS OF STATE LIBRARY AGENCIES to call for a delay in the Commission's actions on Net Neutrality.
After a speech that mostly discussed the E-Rate educational technology program, ROSENWORCEL turned to the issue of net neutrality, saying that she has "real concerns about FCC Chairman (TOM) WHEELER’s proposal on network neutrality -- which is before the agency right now. To his credit, he has acknowledged that all options are on the table. This includes discussion about what a 'commercially reasonable' Internet fast lane looks like. While I do not know now where this conversation will head on a substantive basis, I can tell you right now I have real concerns about process ... while I recognize the urgency to move ahead and develop rules with dispatch, I think the greater urgency comes in giving the American public opportunity to speak right now, before we head down this road. For this reason, I think we should delay our consideration of his rules by a least a month.
"I believe that rushing headlong into a rulemaking next week fails to respect the public response to his proposal. At a minimum, I think we need to recognize this is not business as usual. Starting tomorrow, the Sunshine Period kicks in in our deliberations. That means we no longer accept public comment. I think it’s a mistake to cut off public debate right now as we head into consideration of the Chairman’s proposal. So again, at a minimum, we should delay the onset of our Sunshine rules."
The proposed rules, which would allow Internet service providers to charge extra for "fast lane" service for content providers willing to pay the freight, has generated opposition from those who feel it would create a system of "haves" and "have nots" and would stop small innovators from being able to compete with established, wealthier companies as well as content providers owned by the same companies who control the access.