FCC chief scheduled for marathon week of testimony on Internet rules

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler's March schedule is filling up fast. 

Wheeler has agreed to cap off a marathon week of hearings next month with testimony in front of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Communications and Technology on March 19. 

ADVERTISEMENT
The hearing, announced by panel Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), will be his third of the week. He will also testify at the Senate Commerce Committee and the House Oversight Committee. 

There is still another request for testimony outstanding from the House Judiciary Committee.

Congressional Republicans have pounced on Wheeler after the FCC recently approved regulations that would reclassify broadband Internet under regulations governing traditional telephones, in order to enforce strong net neutrality rules. 

The increased authority, approved by a 3-2 vote on Thursday, is meant to enforce rules to ensure Internet Service Providers do not prioritize any packet of Internet traffic above another. 

Committees in the House and Senate have launched investigations probing whether the White House had an undue influence on the rule-making. Republicans have accused Wheeler of bending to White House pressure, because the regulations track closely with recommendations President Obama made to the commission in November. 

Republicans are also considering a series of congressional actions to undo the regulations. 

Leaders on the House and Senate Commerce committees are pushing a bill to enact many of the net neutrality principles advocates have supported, while also restricting some FCC authority. Another group of Republicans are advocating a more partisan effort to block the regulations through a "fast track" process under the Congressional Review Act.