House Panel Grills FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler On Net Neutrality
May 21, 2014 at 4:25 AM (PT)
FCC Chairman TOM WHEELER faced a skeptical House panel TUESDAY, defending the Commission's actions on Net neutrality and changes in the attribution rules for television ownership while getting an earful from the Congressional panelists.
POLITICO reports that House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chairman GREG WALDEN (R-OR) and Reps. FRED UPTON (R-MI) and JOE BARTON (R-TX) ripped into WHEELER for including the possibility of common carrier Title II regulation of Internet broadband providers in his notice for Internet regulation, while UPTON complained that Republicans had been frozen out of the discussion and Rep. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R-TN) saying that WHEELER hadn't studied the cost of his proposed rules before releasing them.
Rep. ANNA ESHOO (D-CA) warned against "fast lane" "discrimination" favoring content providers who pay extra, responding to WHEELER's claim that the Commission would reject anti-consumer deals by noting that future Commissions and the courts might not do so; she also called for hearings on the COMCAST-TIME WARNER and AT&T-DIRECTV deals.
BROADCASTING AND CABLE reports that WHEELER was also challenged on incentive auctions, with WALDEN concerned that the Commission might be "bullying" broadcasters into participation and criticizing the new restrictions on joint sales agreements, the elimination of the "UHF discount" for television ownership cap considerations, and the method being used in potential "repacking" of the TV dial. Reps. MIKE POMPEO (R-KS), ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL), and JOHN SHIMKUS (R-IL) also took WHEELER to task on the JSA issue.