FCC rejects calls to delay net neutrality vote

FCC rejects calls to delay net neutrality vote
© Greg Nash

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) intends to go ahead with a vote on Dec. 14 to repeal the net neutrality rules despite calls from Democrats and advocacy groups to delay the proceeding.

The FCC said in a statement Monday that “the vote will proceed as scheduled on December 14.”  

In a separate statement provided to Ars Technica, the FCC hit back at those seeking a delay. 

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“This is just evidence that supporters of heavy-handed Internet regulations are becoming more desperate by the day as their effort to defeat Chairman [Ajit] Pai's plan to restore Internet freedom has stalled.”

The decision comes after 28 Democratic senators pressed the agency on Monday to postpone the vote, citing fake comments that were filed during the open comment period on the repeal proposal.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) also made a similar case, as did the City of New York and advocacy groups. His office said last month that "tens of thousands" of New Yorkers may have had fake comments filed in their names.

Under Pai's repeal proposal, the agency would scrap the Obama-era internet rules and cede authority over broadband providers to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

That scenario has some net neutrality supporters worried. The city of New York and advocacy groups said that if a court decides the FTC doesn't have authority, that could create a "'regulatory gap' that would leave consumers utterly unprotected," their letter to Pai reads.

In such a situation, Congress would have to step in and legislate on what agency has regulatory authority over providers. But Republican and Democratic lawmakers so far have made little progress towards a legislative compromise on net neutrality rules.

Pai has said he doesn't find critics' arguments convincing. He says repealing the rules will promote broadband investment.