House Commerce Committee delays net neutrality hearing

House Commerce Committee delays net neutrality hearing
© Greg Nash

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will delay its hearing on net neutrality that was scheduled for Sept. 7, two sources with knowledge of the matter confirmed to The Hill on Wednesday.

Republicans in the committee had intended to use the hearing as a chance to discuss potential solutions for legislative net neutrality. Currently, policies on the rules have been left to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which approved regulations on the matter in 2014. President Trump’s pick for chairman, Ajit Pai, is moving forward with a proposal to scrap the rules at the FCC.

“INCOMPAS and Internet Association appreciate the time and effort that Chairman Walden and his staff have dedicated to resolving Open Internet issues,” the two pro-net neutrality technology trade groups said in a statement on Wednesday. “This issue is complicated and the best thing for the economy and all stakeholders is to have lasting rules. We share the goal of enshrining net neutrality, and very much look forward to continuing our close work with all interested parties in accomplishing that objective.”

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Republicans in Congress say they’re interested in a compromise with Democrats but note that they would like to see net neutrality provisions significantly scaled back.

Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) has invited executives from Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google parent company Alphabet, Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and Charter Communications to testify on the matter.

None have committed to attending the hearing yet.

Republicans have been trying to put more pressure on major technology firms to back down from the net neutrality fight. In July, House Republican leadership threatened that if companies remained vocal, it could make negotiations on other policies they care about more difficult, Axios reported.