Net Neutrality: Senate Oversight Hearing of the FCC, March 8, 10am ET

Infographic: Why Net Neutrality Is More Important Than Ever | Statista Source: Statista, Jan 25, 2017.

President Donald Trump appointed Ajit Pai as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Pai is an outspoken critic of the 2015 Open Internet Order which was drafted to protect the open internet and ensure net neutrality. It basically classifies the internet as a public utility, like electricity or water, and prohibits internet service providers from blocking or throttling any (legal) content or prioritizing content from one source over another. The chart above shows major ISPs such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon have recently made, or are in the process of making, large investments in content providers. As an example, if AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner is approved, wouldn’t Comcast have an incentive to throttle consumers' internet connections when watching HBO, which belongs to its biggest competitor AT&T, and competes with its own content providers?

U.S. Senate Committee On Commerce, Science, & Transportation Hearing entitled “Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission,” March 8, 2017 at 10:00 a.mET.

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene the Full Committee hearing on Wednesday, March 8, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. ET, in Senate Hart Office Building, Room 216, Washington, D.C.

LIVE video (and replay) of the hearing will be available  at www.commerce.senate.gov, together with witness prepared testimony and opening statements.
FCC Chair Ajit Pai (center), FCC Commissioners (L-R) Clyburn & O'Reilly 
  • The Hon. Ajit Pai, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) @AjitPaiFCC
  • The Honorable Mignon Clyburn, FCC Commissioner @MClyburnFCC
  • The Honorable Michael O’Rielly, FCC Commissioner @MikeOFCC
Hearing Preview:
As part of the Committee’s oversight responsibilities, the hearing will have a broad scope covering every aspect of the agency and major policy issues before the FCC. Democrats will likely put the FCC's new Chairman, Ajit Pai, on the "hot seat" concerning his positions on net neutrality, including his recent dropping of a probe into data plans offered by T-Mobile and AT&T, as well as easing reporting requirements for smaller internet service providers. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA.) has been one of his most vocal critics and will likely confront Pai with sharp questions at the hearing.

Also note that currently, the FCC has two vacancies for commissioner and it is not yet clear when President Trump will nominate a Republican and Democrat to fill those 2 positions.

FCC website: fcc.gov

Twitter: @FCC


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