WASHINGTON, April 28 U.S. Federal Communications
Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, under fire from consumer
advocates for proposing Internet traffic rules they say will
create "fast lanes" for some Web content, will testify at a
House of Representatives hearing on May 20.
Wheeler will appear as sole witness at the hearing called by
the House of Representatives' subcommittee on communications and
technology, the panel said on Monday.
Lawmakers will quiz him on his recent proposals related to
the so-called incentive auction of valuable airwaves scheduled
for mid-2015 and "net neutrality" rules as well
as the FCC's recent moves to limit TV stations' joint ad sales
and other matters, said U.S. Representative Greg Walden, who
chairs the subcommittee.
"This will be our first opportunity to directly discuss
issues important to our technology economy ... We look forward
to what will surely be a thorough and spirited discussion with
Chairman Wheeler," Walden, an Oregon Republican, said in a
Wheeler is facing criticism for new "Open Internet" rules he
wants the FCC to propose at a May 15 public meeting. The rules
could allow content companies to pay broadband providers for
faster Internet speeds delivering their traffic as long as such
deals are deemed "commercially reasonable."
Consumer interest groups worry the rules may create "fast
lanes" for some Internet content and undermine the concept of
"net neutrality" which calls for all Web traffic to be treated
equally. Many Republicans and broadband
companies have broadly seen FCC's Open Internet rules as
unnecessary regulation that encroaches on how networks are
managed by owners.
The agency is also working on rules for the major auction of
valuable wireless airwaves scheduled for mid-2015. Wheeler has
proposed rules that would restrict bidding by the largest
carriers in the United States, Verizon Communications Inc
and AT&T Inc.
(Reporting by Alina Selyukh; editing by Matthew Lewis)