After a chorus of Democratic and Independent lawmakers called for the FCC to delay its planned vote on a rollback of net neutrality protections, at least one Republican is now asking the agency to hit pause, as a few others express tempered skepticism of the proposal.
This week, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) sent a letter to FCC chairman Ajit Pai calling for a delay to let Congress pass legislation on the issue. “The Internet has been and remains a transformative tool, and I am concerned that any action you may take to alter the rules under which it functions may well have significant unanticipated negative consequences,” Coffman writes. “Therefore, I urge you to delay your upcoming vote and provide and provide Congress with the opportunity to hold hearings on the net neutrality issue and to pass permanent open Internet legislation.”
Coffman writes that the four previous chairmen at the agency “all took steps to uphold the basic principles that guaranteed a free and open internet,” and says Congress can find the “right balance” on regulation.
Coffman is not wholly alone in criticizing the FCC’s plan. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) issued a statement last month criticizing the proposal, with a spokesperson saying “internet providers must not manage their system in an anti-competitive way that limits consumers’ choices.”
In a tweet, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) said he had written a letter to Pai asking him “to preserve the framework of net neutrality.”
A few other representatives have also released cautious statements. Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) asked the FCC to “preserve” protections that would keep “the Internet open, free from interference, and make sure it stays a source of innovation and job creation.” Rep. John Curtis (R-UT) bemoaned “heavy-handed regulation” but said he supports “the principles of net neutrality such as no blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization.”
Coffman’s letter is notable, since it appears to be the first direct call from a congressional Republican for a postponement. “I greatly appreciate your consideration and look forward to working with you to find a permanent legislative solution to ensure the continuation of a free and open internet,” the letter concludes.
Update, 6:37PM: Includes tweet from