Public Knowledge Opposes Rate Regulation Bill that Undermines FCC’s Net Neutrality RulesFebruary 11, 2016
Today, the House Energy and Commerce Communications subcommittee voted 15-11 to approve the No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act (H.R. 2666) without amendments. This bill, introduced by Reps. Greg Walden (R-OR) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), would prohibit the Federal Communications Commission from regulating broadband Internet access rates “without regard to any other provision of law,” namely the 2015 Open Internet Order. Public Knowledge continues to defend Net Neutrality and the FCC’s authority to protect consumers from overcharges and carrier abuse such as price gouging and data caps.
The following can be attributed to Chris Lewis, Vice President of Government Affairs at Public Knowledge:
“Although Public Knowledge believes that H.R. 2666 is unnecessary, we are grateful for the efforts of Democratic members of the Subcommittee to find compromise that preserves both the intent of Chairman Wheeler’s no rate regulation pledge, and the important consumer protection powers of the FCC. H.R. 2666, as written, could potentially harm the ability for the FCC to expand broadband deployment through subsidies, manage interconnection disputes that slow traffic, and protect consumers from deceptive and unreasonable charges. Americans deserve more carefully crafted legislation than that.
“Ironically, communications policy luminaries gathered to celebrate the ability to compromise to support consumer protection, competition, and innovation in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 at the same time that the Subcommittee on Communications was struggling to find its own compromise on defining rate regulation. Perhaps the Communications Subcommittee should look to the definition provided by the Supreme Court in its recent 6-2 decision which clarifies that rate regulation deals with the setting of the amount paid, and not ‘expansive notions’. On the 20th anniversary of the 96 Act, we can all look to it for inspiration to find compromise.”
You may view our recent blog post, “Republicans’ Latest Plan to Undermine FCC On Consumer Protection,” for a detailed overview of this bill.