The FCC is set to pass net neutrality regulations at its open meeting today after commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Michael Copps affirmed their support for the rules, which have not yet been made available to the public.
In a statement yesterday, Clyburn said she would vote in favor of “a set of guidelines that, while not as strong as they could be, will nonetheless protect consumers as they explore, learn, and innovate online.” Copps has expressed reservations about the rules, but reportedly will not block the regulations by voting against them.
The votes from Clyburn and Copps will give agency the necessary votes to pass the regulations. Commissioners Meredith Baker and Robert McDowell have opposed the rules.
The plan has yet to be made public and details remain scarce. Genachowski called the rules “basic” in an announcement earlier this month, and said the regulations would not attempt to reclassify broadband Internet services under Title II of the Communications Act.
The regulations would ensure that consumers can get basic information about their broadband Internet service and ban “unreasonable discrimination in transmitting lawful network traffic.”
The affect of the rules on the wireless industry remains unclear, as Genachowski has provided few details on that front beyond saying that the regulations would consider the differences between spectrum-based services and fixed broadband services.
The FCC’s previous attempts to enforce net neutrality rules were overthrown after a court ruled the agency lacked regulatory authority over broadband Internet services. Title II reclassification was proposed as a work-around for the court decision. Genachowski has yet to explain the legal foundation for the agency’s new open Internet rules, but has maintained that they have a sound legal basis without reclassification.
The regulations have been the target of heavy lobbying from Internet service providers like AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Comcast, and have been met with vehement opposition from Republican lawmakers.
Last week, the ranking member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee moved to block the FCC’s funding for its net neutrality efforts. The amendment to omnibus appropriations bill H.R. 3082, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) would stop the agency from using any money in the appropriations bill for regulations or litigation related to its net neutrality initiatives.
The FCC’s net neutrality vote comes just weeks before the Republicans are set to take control of Congress and the influential House Energy and Commerce Committee, whose Democrat and Republican members have clashed over proposed open Internet rules introduced by Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) earlier this year. Incoming committee chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) is against the FCC’s net neutrality and Title II reclassification proposals.
Filed Under: Industry regulations