The purpose of the rules is to prevent Internet providers from speeding up access to websites that pay special fees or to their own sites. There is also concern that without the rules, Internet providers could slow down or block their competitors' sites. Supporters of the rules argue that all websites should be treated equally, whether they are large corporate services or small personal blogs.
Verizon's challenge to the rules is currently pending in federal court. If Verizon wins, the next chairman would have to decide whether to try to reinstate the rules.
Thirty-seven Senate Democrats have voiced support for choosing Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel to be the new chairwoman. Markey, however, said he isn't supporting any particular candidate for the job yet.
Other potential candidates include venture capitalist Tom Wheeler; Karen Kornbluh, ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; and Larry Strickling, the head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.