Internet regulations run 332 pages

A Republican member of the Federal Communications Commission wants followers to know the text of proposed Internet regulations runs 332 pages that will not be publicly released until well after they are approved.

Commissioner Ajit Pai on Friday took to Twitter to goad President Obama and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler over Wheeler's proposed net neutrality order, which was circulated privately among the commissioners Thursday.

Pai tweeted a picture of himself holding the hundreds of pages of regulations in front of a portrait of Obama, calling them the president's rules.

 

The rules proposed by Wheeler adhere largely with the recommendations President Obama gave to the agency last year. And Republicans have accused the independent agency, led by Wheeler, of bending to White House pressure.

The rules would reclassify broadband under regulations governing traditional telephones. The stricter rules are meant to enforce strong rules that would ban Internet service providers from blocking or slowing Internet traffic, while also preventing them from negotiating deals with websites to pay for faster service.

In a corresponding statement, Pai slammed the regulations as an "unlawful power grab," saying they will increase fees, slow speeds and hurt competition. He also accused the commission of misleading the public about the plan, which has been described but not fully unveiled.

"The rollout earlier in the week was obviously intended to downplay the plan’s massive intrusion into the Internet economy," he said. "Beginning next week, I look forward to sharing with the public key aspects of what this plan will actually do."

Pai and the commission's other Republican Michael O'Rielly have argued against the new regulations. However, Democrats have control of the five-member commission, and the rules are expected to be approved during a vote later this month.

Gigi Sohn, a special counsel for Wheeler, said the text of the actually net neutrality rules are only 8 pages. She said the other pages responds to the millions of public comments, "as required by law."

Republicans in Congress and on the commission have also lamented that Wheeler will not release text of the order early, given the increased importance and attention it has garnered.

The FCC unveiled details of the plan earlier this week, but it typically does not release the text of the order until after approval. Wheeler told congressional Republicans earlier this week he would not make an exception with the net neutrality order.

This story was updated at 2:30 p.m.