FCC Commissioner Asks for the Delay of Net Neutrality Debate [NYT]

One commissioner wants the FCC to discuss more with the public before moving forward

The FCC was hoping to present its plans for the future of the Open Internet later this month, when Tom Wheeler is supposed to deliver a speech, but it looks like the public outcry over the proposed changes is taking its toll.

According to the New York Times, a member of the Federal Communications Commission has called upon the agency’s chairman, Tom Wheeler, to delay a proposal for net neutrality.

Jessica Rosenworcel is one of the five members of the commission and she said that a delay was warranted given the “torrent of public response.” Mignon Clyburn, another commissioner, said that there had been at least 100,000 messages from citizens and companies regarding the new rules, asking the FCC to maintain net neutrality.

Despite the desire to postpone the meeting, Wheeler seems to be keen on going through with it, as his spokesperson said.

“Chairman Wheeler fully supports a robust public debate on how best to protect the Open Internet, which is why he intends to put forward his proposals for public comment next week. Moving forward will allow the American people to review and comment on the proposed plan without delay, and bring us one step closer to putting rules on the books to protect consumers and entrepreneurs online,” said spokesperson Shannon Gilson.

Even so, Rosenworcel believes that the commission needs to allow the FCC’s legal experts to discuss with the public about what net neutrality means for them and how it should be enforced.

According to previous reports, Wheeler’s plans include the creation of a tiered Internet by allowing the Internet service providers to charge content providers more for access to a fast lane. Each deal is supposed to be approved by the FCC, but there’s no guarantee that the plan will work out well.

Nearly 150 tech companies have joined forces and signed an open letter urging the FCC to abolish such plans since they would ruin the Internet and everything that the industry has built over the past decades.

The list includes Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft, Netflix, Twitter, Reddit, Imgur, Amazon, Dropbox, eBay, GitHub, Tumblr, Mozilla and more, most of which are heavyweights in the industry.

Falling prey to the lobbying pressures of companies such as Comcast, Verizon and Time Warner Cable and allowing them to charge for access to an Internet fast lane can have a big impact on the way the Internet works and, ultimately, on the consumers that the FCC claims it wants to protect.

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