Net neutrality puts consumers 'in the driver’s seat?'

The Federal Communications Commission’s decision to take up new net neutrality rules would “put the consumers back in the driver’s seat,” according to a top House Democrat.

“In fact, if the consumer isn’t in the driver’s seat, then it’s going to change the Internet,” Rep. Anna EshooAnna Georges EshooOvernight Tech: FTC nominees promise focus on data breaches | FCC chair backs SpaceX broadband project | AT&T wants antitrust chief to testify in merger trial Overnight Tech: Senate extends NSA spy program | Apple to allow customers to disable phone slowdowns | Amazon down to 20 HQ2 finalists | Facebook gets first black board member House Dems want to give cities the right to build broadband networks MORE (D-Calif.) said this weekend on “Press:Here,” an NBC roundtable shown in Silicon Valley.

“I don’t know anyone that would raise their hand and say ‘I’m for blocking, and I’m for discriminatory practices,’ ” she added.

Eshoo is the top Democrat on House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Communications and Technology, and is vying to be the top Democrat on the full committee.

Last week, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced that his commission would revamp its net neutrality rules, which required Internet service providers to treat all traffic online equally. Wheeler’s announcement came weeks after the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the commission’s existing rules, called the Open Internet Order.

In its ruling, the court affirmed the FCC had the authority to regulate the Web but ruled the existing rules were improperly written.

Eshoo explained that the court gave the FCC “a roadmap” for writing new regulations.

Opponents of the FCC’s action, including many Republicans in Congress, have worried new rules would stifle innovation on the Internet.

A day after the Wheeler announced that the commission would issue new rules, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) introduced the Internet Freedom Act, which would block new rules.   

Eshoo, who represents Silicon Valley, has defended the effort and said on the NBC show it would benefit consumers and businesses alike.

“I think the consumers — for companies, for the private sector — need to be in the diver’s seat, and the private sector will be even better with that,” she said.