Washington

Eshoo Threatens Net Neutrality Bill If FCC Rules Overturned

Also puts in plug for adjusting spectrum screen and not deregulating telcos 1/22/2013 11:24:40 AM Eastern

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) said Tuesday that if the D.C.
Circuit overturns the FCC's Open Internet order, she will be ready with a bill
to clarify the FCC's authority to make such rules.

In a speech at the annual State of the Net Conference of the
Congressional Internet Caucus (she is co-chair), Eshoo said that
"clarifying" the commission's ability to ensure "a free and open
Internet" was a consumer protection issue and that, "should the court
overturn the FCC's rules, I will be prepared to introduce legislation."

That will be an uphill climb in a Republican-controlled
House, where leadership has expressed no love for the FCC's net neutrality
rules.

Eshoo put in a plug for the FCC's proposal to adjust its
spectrum screen, which is the amount of spectrum owned by one company in a
market that triggers additional concentration concerns. She said the screen
should be reformed, including by treating spectrum less than one gigahertz
different from other spectrum because it was more valuable.

Wireless companies looking to bid on the broadcast spectrum
being freed up in the incentive auction are concerned that tightening the
screen for that newly freed spectrum will be a backdoor method of limiting
their ability to bid for it in the auction. While the incentive auction
legislation does not allow limiting those bidders, it does allow for separate
rulemakings like the spectrum screen that could have that effect.

She registered her opposition to a proposal by AT&T to
deregulate traditional service as phone companies make the switch to IP
delivery. She suggested that would be "throwing out rules that have helped
pave the way for more competition...we're talking about an evolution in technology,
one that doesn't change the need for interconnection or last mile access for
competitive providers."

She also said she hoped the subcommittee would give serious
consideration to future of video issues like the impact of data caps on Netflix
or anything else that she said would "deny consumers the freedom and
flexibility to stream video content whenever and wherever they want."

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