Amazon, Etsy officials to testify on open Internet

No Federal Communications Commission officials are slated to appear before Congress at a pair of hearings exploring net neutrality next week, but the House panel will hear from executives with Etsy and Amazon.com.

The Senate panel has yet to announce its witness list, but it previously announced the list would consist of non-governmental experts. 

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The hearings come as Republicans in both chambers begin to work on legislation that would make it unnecessary for the FCC to go through with reclassifying broadband Internet under utility-like regulations similar to traditional phone companies. 

The FCC is slated to take up a vote on new proposed rules next month. 

The House Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology invited Michael Powell, the chief executive of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, as well as Meredith Atwell Baker, the chief executive of CTIA-The Wireless Association. Both trade groups have expressed opposition to reclassifying the Internet in order to enforce stronger net neutrality rules. 

Nicol Turner-Lee, vice president of Minority Media & Telecom Council, will also testify. Her organization has previously argued against reclassification under Title II of the Communications Act. 

Paul Misener, Amazon's vice president of global public policy, is also slated to attend. 

Amazon is a member of The Internet Association, which has previously applauded President Obama's and other advocates’ calls for reclassification. 

On Thursday, the group said it would continue to push the FCC to act. But it said legislation or FCC action "is not a binary choice."

Etsy chief executive Chad Dickerson will also testify. His company is also a member of The Internet Association, and he previously wrote an op-ed calling for stronger rules to make sure Internet service providers cannot block or slow traffic, or create “fast lanes” to certain websites.