Before the Federal Communications Commission votes on its new “net neutrality” Internet regulation rules next week, the agency may first want to figure out how to use the Web properly.
The FCC has been on the receiving end of all the combined heat the Internet can muster since it announced Chairman Tom Wheeler’s new proposed rules for Internet traffic last month.
Those rules would allow broadband service providers to charge companies a higher premium price for access to their fastest lanes, and establish a hierarchy of preferential treatment for certain Internet content creators willing or able to pay for the best service.
Government officials, media, activists, and countless Internet users have spent the weeks since relentlessly haranguing Wheeler and the FCC over the new rules, which critics describe as a betrayal of the commission’s initial position on net neutrality after a court thew those rules out in January.
As a result of the pressure, morale at FCC headquarters in Washington, D.C. has been low, an FCC official told The Daily Caller on Wednesday. In response to all the blowback, Wheeler’s office sent out an invitation to an impromptu internal meeting for Monday morning to discuss the new rules, what the agency was doing, answer questions and “boost morale.”
Meeting organizers decided to live-stream video of the meeting internally at the FCC for employees unable to attend in person. Unfortunately for the chairman — especially in light of his proposal, which would drastically affect content creators like video-streaming service Netflix — the FCC couldn’t figure out how to get the live-stream to work.
The video feed was intermittent at best, and froze and crashed multiple times throughout the meeting, reportedly prompting another FCC employee to joke, “It’s too bad we don’t have those fast lanes.”
Protesters began gathering outside the FCC Wednesday to set up camp ahead of the agency’s vote on the rules change next week, but the same FCC official told the Daily Caller an attempt is reportedly in the works to disrupt and clear out the protesters, and quell public backlash ahead of the adoption process.
The FCC is expected to vote on initiating the formal process of considering Wheeler’s new rules May 15.