When he appears before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee Wednesday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski will defend both the recently approved net neutrality rules as well as the process that developed the open Internet regulations, according to the text of his prepared remarks obtained by Tech Daily Dose.
"I believe we did the right thing, and I am proud of the fact that our framework has attracted support from the broadest consensus ever assembled on this challenging topic," he said in his prepared testimony for the hearing before the Communications and Technology Subcommittee.
Genachowski and the FCC's four other members are scheduled to appear at the hearing and will likely face withering criticism from the panel's top Republicans.
Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., indicated Tuesday during his remarks at a state regulators conference that he is not happy with both the substance of the net neutrality rules and the process the commission used to approve them. Walden and other Republicans have vowed to try to block implementation of the net neutrality rules, which they say are an attempt by the commission to regulate the Internet that will stifle innovation and investment in broadband.
At the same time, he also complained that the FCC's process in crafting the rules was a "due process embarrassment." He noted that hundreds of pages of documents related to the net neutrality order were dumped on the other commissioners by the chairman's office the night before the December vote on the order.
In his remarks for the Wednesday hearing, Genachowski argues that he reformed the process that led to the net neutrality rules and insists that the rules promote innovation, job creation, U.S. competitiveness, and private investment.
In her written testimony, Democratic commissioner Mignon Clyburn also dismisses criticism of the rules, approved in December on a party-line 3-2 vote, addressing some of the major concerns one by one.
"I do not think we acted recklessly, nor do I believe that we have harmed the Internet," according to her prepared remarks. "What we did was put a policy in place that will ensure and enable users to access lawful websites, applications, and services, so that they, not their Internet service providers, can choose which companies, products, services and ideas will succeed."
After describing a litany of technology and telecommunications issues, Democratic commissioner Michael Copps reiterated in his written testimony his wish that the net neutrality order went further in its protections.
"This is not about government regulating the Internet. It is about ensuring that consumers, rather than Big Telephone or Big Cable, have maximum control of their experiences when they go online," Copps said.
While GOP commissioner Robert McDowell largely avoids explicit criticism in his written testimony - he simply attached a copy of his dissenting opinion on net neutrality - fellow Republican Meredith Baker joins House critics in blasting the new regulations.
"I believe that net neutrality was both the wrong policy and the wrong priority," she says in her prepared statement. "This action also exceeded our statutory authority--establishing a national policy is Congress's role, not the FCC's role."
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