Republicans Tell FCC Chairman to Quit Making New Rules

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler speaks at the FCC Net Neutrality hearing in Washington DC

Republicans Tell FCC Chairman to Quit Making New Rules

WASHINGTON-Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler urging him to freeze the regulatory process during the presidential transition and focus on the TV spectrum incentive auction, now in its third phase. It is one of the first major impacts of Trump's election on US regulatory reforms.

Republicans in Congress said Tuesday Wheeler should not move forward with any controversial measures during the transition.

Wheeler's office hadn't said whether it will comply with the request, but today it announced the deletion of all items that were originally scheduled to be presented and voted on at tomorrow's meeting.

There is a new sheriff in town, or will be soon, and Hill Republicans are echoing their Democratic counterparts from eight years ago that the FCC should not vote any controversial items between now and Inauguration Day (Jan. 20), when Republican Donald Trump takes the oath of office.

Wheeler has drawn the ire of Republicans for his move past year to ensure net neutrality by imposing common carrier regulation on Internet service providers.

The set-top box proposal won the backing of President Barack Obama in April but ran into heavy resistance among cable companies, programmers and many in Congress. Wheeler dropped plans in September for a final vote as talks between commissioners continued.

Wheeler proposed a sweeping reform plan for business data services, or special access lines, in April, but scaled it back in October.

The now-deleted agenda item would have phased in price cap decreases of 11 percent over three years to account for "over a decade of efficiency gains" since the last price cap adjustment.

But it came under criticism from AT&T and the Communications Workers of America union. But the mass agenda deletion seems to be a strong signal that Wheeler's FCC is done making major rule changes.

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