FCC's O'Rielly Concerned About 'Mission Creep'

Warns Congress in prepared testimony
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Republican FCC commissioner Michael O'Rielly says that he is concerned that "expansive interpretations" of the Communications Act by the commission signaled by recent enforcement actions against non-carriers could take the FCC "far beyond" its traditional jurisdiction.

He planned to make that point to members of the House Communications Subcommittee in an oversight hearing Tuesday (Nov. 17), according to a copy of his testimony.

"I fear that recent moves to proactively investigate and issue warnings to non-carriers on their terms of service are merely the leading edge of things to come as the full implications of several key decisions are finally revealed."

He did not elaborate, but one of those is likely the proposal to redefine some over-the-top video providers as MVPD's subject to some FCC regulations; another was the decision to reclassify ISP's as common carriers subject to new regulations.

Citing actions against PayPal, Lyft and First National Bank, to regulating service provider ads, O'Rielly warned that the FCC could reach deeper into the business practices of edge providers as impeding the "virtuous cycle."

That was the cycle FCC chairman Tom Wheeler invoked in reclassifying ISPs as common carriers, saying they had the ability and incentive to be the gatekeepers and disruptors of that cycle.

O'Rielly was warned that edge providers could eventually be tagged as cycle disruptors as well.

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