Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday, November 1, 2017 at
10:00 AM 10:30 AM, the Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law will hold a hearing entitled “Net Neutrality and the Role of Antitrust.”
This hearing will discuss the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) recently issued Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NRPM), which seeks to reverse the 2015 “Open Internet Order,” commonly known as the “Net Neutrality Rule.” Specifically, this hearing will allow lawmakers to evaluate the role of antitrust law to ensure a competitive and open Internet marketplace.
Witnesses at the hearing will include:
- Hon. Maureen K. Ohlhausen, Acting Chairman, Federal Trade Commission
- Mr. Michael Romano, Senior Vice President, Industry Affairs & Business Development, NTCA (The Rural Broadband Association)
- Hon. Terrell McSweeny, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission
- Hon. Robert M. McDowell, Former Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) has issued the following statement ahead of the hearing:
Chairman Goodlatte: “The success of the Internet as a marketplace and a means of exchanging ideas and information is unparalleled. And we owe this success, in large part, because the Internet has remained relatively free from regulations that would stifle innovation and drive up costs. Antitrust laws encourage competition, and should continue to be used to ensure competition and empower consumers to choose the services that best fit their needs, including on the Internet. One-size-fits-all regulations from government bureaucrats inhibit innovation and should be avoided.
“I look forward to this hearing that will provide policy makers with expert opinions on how antitrust law can be used to oversee competition on the Internet and protect consumers’ best interests.”
The hearing will take place in 2141 Rayburn House Office Building and will be webcast live at judiciary.house.gov. Camera crew wishing to cover the hearing must be congressionally credentialed and RSVP with the House Radio-TV Gallery at (202 225-5214.
The House Judiciary Committee held hearings in February 2011, May 2011, June 2014, and March 2015 examining the potential of antitrust law to maintain a free and open Internet.
The Committee also sent a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler expressing concern over the Net Neutrality rule as an enforcement method for Internet competition.
Following Chairman Wheeler’s proposed Net Neutrality Rule, Chairman Goodlatte responded: “Chairman Wheeler’s net neutrality proposal falls short of its stated goal to ‘ensure the internet remains open, now and in the future, for all Americans’…I urge the FCC to instead consider using our nation’s antitrust laws to prevent discriminatory and anti-competitive conduct and punish bad actors on the Internet effective immediately.”