FCC’s Rosenworcel urges public to comment on net neutrality

Jessica Rosenworcel
Rosenworcel says the American public should raise their voices and let Washington know how important an open internet is.(FCC)

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel is making it clear that she wants Americans to provide feedback about last October’s decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Court to uphold the majority of the agency’s decision to rollback net neutrality.

The Court of Appeals upheld the FCC’s decision to return to a “light-touch” framework and reclassify ISPs as Title I information service providers that aren’t subject to Title II common-carrier regulations. And it also agreed to eliminate the rules against blocking, throttling and prioritizing traffic. However, the Court of Appeals did express concern over how the FCC’s net neutrality decision will impact public safety and the agency’s Lifeline broadband/phone service subsidy as well as what this will mean for broadband infrastructure.

The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau announced earlier this week that it wants to receive comments on what the changes adopted by the FCC’s decision — specifically the allowing of paid prioritization of packets — will mean for the public safety community, the Lifeline program and the regulation of pole attachments. Comments are due March 30 and the reply comments deadline is April 29.

The announcement comes after the D.C. court earlier this month denied all requests for a rehearing of the ruling, and therefore opened it up to the FCC to issue its request for comments.

Commissioner Rosenworcel, who dissented the FCC’s decision to roll back the net neutrality rules, took the pre-emptive step of asking Americans to make their opinions known. In a statement, Rosenworcel said: “Today, the FCC is seeking comment on how best to move forward. My advice? The American public should raise their voices and let Washington know how important an open internet is for every piece of our civic and commercial lives. The agency wrongfully gave broadband providers the power to block websites, throttle services and censor online content. The fight for an open internet is not over. It’s time to make noise.”