Fred in the News
POLITICO: Fred Upton: No Net Neutrality Deal this Year
Washington, DC, October 28, 2010 | Sean C. Bonyun ((202) 225-3761)
By Darren Samuelsohn & Tony Romm -
Don’t expect any action on net neutrality in a lame duck session if Republicans capture the House next week, the front-runner to chair the House Energy and Commerce Committee says.
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) told POLITICO on Wednesday that Republicans would have little incentive to support a temporary compromise that even telecom giants like AT&T and Verizon seemed to support.
"Knowing we'll have a much stronger hand come January, there's no reason for us to compromise or save someone's bacon,” he said in an interview.
Upton’s position should not come as a surprise to most Democrats. He has long opposed net neutrality regulations and was not a supporter of the proposal current committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) floated last month.
That bill would have granted the Federal Communications Commission the temporary authority to regulate net neutrality on the Internet, but not on wireless networks, while prohibiting the agency from expanding its powers with a new framework for broadband. But the effort never came close to the House floor, as the clock ran out and key Republicans refused to sign on to the draft legislation.
Waxman said at the time he would reconsider the proposal if he could secure “full bipartisan support” in the lame-duck. But Upton’s clear opposition to the idea may symbolize a larger lack of appetite among GOP members for net neutrality deals in this Congress or the next.
Upton also tossed cold water on any potential rewrite of the Communications Act that governs the FCC and its authority over phone, Internet and cable networks.
“There is no need at this point to rewrite the [act] unless the FCC grabs too much power and we have to physically rein them in,” he said.
“You shouldn't have an overbearing FCC. Let the market work itself,” Upton said. “By allowing companies to compete in an unregulated forum, you're going to allow the faster deployment of new services and new equipment consumers are going to want.”