Commissioners Pai and O’Rielly Ask for 30-Day Deferral of Net-Neutrality Vote

The FCC’s Republican members have asked that the agency delay its vote on its new Internet regulation plan (Net Neutrality) in order to further consider public input on the matter
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WASHINGTON�The FCC�s Republican members have asked that the agency delay its vote on its new Internet regulation plan (Net Neutrality) in order to further consider public input on the matter, according to�

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Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O�Rielly said the FCC should �immediately release� the 332-page document and therefore �allow the American people a reasonable period of not less than 30 days to carefully study it. Then, after the Commission reviews the specific input it receives from the American public and makes any modifications to the plan as appropriate, we could proceed to a final vote.�

Last year the FCC opened up a public comment period on Internet regulation plans, which resulted in a record number of submissions that at one point crashed�its website.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler provided the document to the other Commissioners earlier this month with plans to conduct a vote on the matter on Feb. 26. �He provided a �fact sheet� for the public that indicated the draft order would bring Internet access under Title II, allowing the agency to reclassify services that consumers purchase from cable, phone and wireless providers, and thereafter regulate them in a fashion similar to the way FCC regulates traditional telecommunications services.

The same fact sheet noted that Wheeler�s draft order will contain language that the agency said �will stand up to court challenges� based on last year�s ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.� That ruling said the FCC had failed to classify ISPs as common carriers, leaving them outside of the agency�s regulatory jurisdiction. �The court said the FCC could regain that jurisdiction if it reclassified ISPs under the Title II common carrier framework.

Last November President Obama threw his support behind the FCC�s move to bring broadband access under Title II.� The move could have a significant impact on current providers. �Though Wheeler has followed the President�s lead to leave in wording that allows for �reasonable network management,� the fact sheet also states �a provider can�t cite �reasonable network management� to justify reneging on its promise to supply a customer with �unlimited� data.�


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