The FCC usually does not release the complete text of proposals before a vote, even though the policy language is circulated among commissioners and members of the media are briefed on major points.
But at a hearing on net neutrality earlier this week, Rep. Greg Walden (R-Oregon), suggested that the process he and other lawamkers have taken to draft their own net neutrality bill has been more transparent than that of the FCC.
In a letter to Wheeler on Friday, Walden, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) called on the FCC to release the draft text of the net neutrality proposal when it is released to fellow commissioners on Feb. 5.
“Transparency in this matter is particularly vital as so many of the public participants who have expressed an interest in net neutrality have no meaningful access to the proceeding at the commission,” they wrote in their letter.
An FCC spokeswoman said that they have received the letter and are reviewing it.
Thune, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, and Upton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, unveiled a draft of their proposed legislation last week, along with Walden, who is chair of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee.
The bill would ban Internet providers from blocking or throttling traffic, or from charging for speedier delivery of content to their subscribers. But at a series of hearings this week, Democrats who have called for robust net neutrality rules criticized the legislation because it would place limits on the FCC’s authority over Internet providers, making it more difficult for the agency to respond to consumer complaints. Such Internet firms as Amazon also have expressed their misgivings about the GOP approach.
The GOP bill would ban the FCC from reclassifying the Internet as a Title II telecommunications service, a regulatory move that would enable the agency to have a more solid legal footing to impose rules of the road for broadband. Although broadband providers say that reclassification would stifle investment, President Obama supports such a move, and Wheeler has hinted that the he is favoring such an approach.