Republican FCC commissioners to take quick action on net neutrality

FCC headquarters

As FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler gets ready to step down in January, FCC commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly said they will conduct a deep dive review of the net neutrality rules "as soon as possible.”

In a letter (PDF) sent to five lobbyist groups that represent wireless operators and smaller service providers, Pai and O’Rielly talked about plans to exempt regional service providers from various net neutrality disclosure requirements.

The two commissioners proposed a plan that they said would have “extended relief to providers serving 250,000 or fewer subscribers.”

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“Our aim in pursuing this compromise was to avoid unnecessary hardship on small providers who might expend scarce resources to comply with rules that could be revisited early next year,” Pai and O’Rielly said in the joint letter.

Additionally, the commissioners said they will take a look at the broader net neutrality order after Donald Trump takes office in late January.

This includes examining the merits of the Title II element of the net neutrality rules.

Under the net neutrality rules, ISPs can’t block or slow down a competitor's content on its network. AT&T, Verizon and the cable industry sued the FCC to block the rule, arguing it gave the FCC too much power over the internet.

Although the telcos and cable lost the case, a number of Republicans said they would work to overturn net neutrality once they gained control of Congress, the White House and the FCC.

When Trump takes office in January, Pai and O’Rielly, who have been staunch opponents to net neutrality, will gain Republican rule over the agency. Trump will have to nominate a replacement for Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel and the chairman's seat.

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