The future of the internet is up for grabs — theoretically – Salon

Congress steps in

Congress, which has the ultimate say in what the FCC can or cannot do, has begun to weigh in, hoping to pass legislation that will set into law what level of regulation the FCC can impose.

But that is proving to be difficult.

Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, this summer invited CEOs from Verizon and Comcast, as well as internet companies such as Facebook, Google and Netflix — supporters of current net-neutrality rules — to testify this month on how a compromise might be hammered out.

“It’s time for Congress to call a halt on the back-and-forth and set clear net neutrality ground rules for the internet,” Walden optimistically said in a statement released in July. “In some form or another, we have been working for at least 20 years on the intertwined goals of incentivizing the huge investments needed to connect Americans, while keeping the internet open and protecting consumer privacy.”

The hearing, which was set for Sept. 7, was postponed, however, because no company had accepted the invitation to appear, according to Reuters.

Republicans said they postponed the meeting to allow more time for providers and internet companies to discuss possible solutions. In the meantime, GOP leadership, which supports scaling back Wheeler’s rules, have reportedly warned Google, Facebook and other technology companies to back off their strong support of the current regulations, according to Axios.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, introduced a bill in February 2015 to overturn Wheeler’s rules. The bill, which has 31 Republican cosponsors and no Democrats, has not been taken up by the subcommittee since, and Blackburn said this year there are no plans to because she wants the FCC to act first on net neutrality.


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