Jan. 19th -- There are only a few weeks left until the Federal Communications Commission votes on the future of free and open internet. But in that time period, two Oregon legislators are differing on what to do.
Republican Oregon Representative Greg Walden, the chairman of the House Telecom Subcommittee, made a huge shift along with other members of his party to supporting some internet regulations. Republicans are putting forward a bill that would ban internet "paid prioritization," but would at the same time block the FCC from enforcing the internet through Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, which puts regulation under the same rules as phone companies.
In response to the bill, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat who has been a spokesperson for net neutrality for years, released a statement.
"We appreciate that the Republican bill also recognizes that net neutrality principles should apply regardless of the technology used to connect to the Internet," Wyden said. But Wyden disagrees with the blockage of Title II enforcement, saying that, "The bill as currently drafted would dramatically undermine the FCC's vital role."
Walden also has a history of experience with the FCC, having run and owned radio stations before becoming a U.S. Representative for the Second District in 1999. He has voiced concerns about Title II regulation even dating back to November, in a debate with then-Democrat challenger Aelea Christofferson.
"Title II regulations means you're going to create a bureaucracy in Washington under the Federal Communications Commission that can actually make decisions on fast lanes and slow lanes, and decide what rates are paid here and there," Walden said.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has announced that the FCC will be voting on net neutrality rules February 26th.