FCC’s Simington Welcomes Congressional Action on Net Neutrality
Federal Communications Commissioner Nathan Simington said last week he would welcome congressional legislation to address debates over policy on net neutrality that continue to rage as the commission considers provisions that would protect the principle.
In a keynote address at an event Thursday on net neutrality hosted by think tank The R Street Institute, the Republican commissioner — who has opposed the net neutrality provisions imposed in 2015 by the commission under the former President Barack Obama – indicated he would prefer legislative action on net neutrality policy to proposals of Democratic FCC commissioners to regulate it through policy of the commission.
“Personally I would welcome congressional action to put this issue to rest,” said Simington, “I think a good law would focus on preventing blocking.”
Under the administration of former President Donald Trump, the FCC had in 2017 reversed the Obama-era net neutrality provisions, which prevented internet service providers from having a hand manipulating the data traffic over their networks to do things like provide faster or free access to certain applications.
Simington’s comment is significant for two reasons: because it comes after FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel told lawmakers earlier this year that she is committed to the idea of the restoration of net neutrality principles; and because the commission is on the cusp of a Senate-approved fifth commissioner in Democrat and net neutrality advocate Gigi Sohn, which would break the 2-2 party split and would signal less friction when approving the Democratic agenda.
Thursday’s event also featured a panel that discussed issues such as whether a new agency must be created to deal with issues of net neutrality or whether an existing body such as the Federal Trade Commission can fulfill that role.