Just two months after Rep. Henry Waxman drafted, then abandoned, a hotly contested net neutrality bill, the FCC will present its own net neutrality policy in a December 21 meeting.
According to The Hill, which obtained a copy of the FCC’s tentative December agenda just after midnight on Wednesday, the FCC will discuss “adopting basic rules of the road to preserve the open Internet as a platform for innovation, investment, competition, and free expression.” Afterward, the commission will take a vote on whether to regulate the Internet based on four core principles.
“These rules would protect consumers’ and innovators’ right to know basic information about broadband service, right to send and receive lawful Internet traffic, and right to a level playing field, while providing broadband Internet access providers with the flexibility to reasonably manage their networks,” the agenda announcement reads.
While the majority Democratic commission is in favor of instituting a regulatory framework to “preserve” net neutrality, the FCC has been unable to do so under the tenure of Chairman Julius Genachowski. In April, a federal court struck down the commission’s attempt to regulate Comcast under Title I, arguing that Congress has not granted the commission authority to regulate the Internet as it did television, radio, and telephones.
Sources with ties to the FCC say that the agency will likely pursue net neutrality under Title I regardless of the ruling in FCC v. Comcast, by using new arguments of authority that would pass constitutional muster.
One source suspects that the FCC’s policy will lack the sunset provision found in Waxman’s bill, which allowed for the legislation to expire after a set amount of time. A sunset provision would most likely lead to a redux of the current net neutrality debate.