FCC chair Tom Wheeler has refused to release the net neutrality rules that the regulator will vote on later this month.
The decision whether to make a document public before it faces formal approval rests with the FCC chair but, despite requests from Congress and two of his own commissioners, Wheeler has refused to do so, leaving the public in the dark over what the regulator will actually approve on 26 February.
Citing “decades of precedent,” Wheeler told the chairs of Congress’ technology committees [PDF] that the FCC works along the same lines as appeal courts and the Supreme Court and commissioners are given the text three weeks before a vote is expected in order to “confer privately, share their views and review drafts confidentially, and then issue their public decision,” claiming “this is commonplace for administrative agencies.”
However, given the extraordinary public interest in the rules – highlighted by the four million public comments received on the topic – not to mention the fact that two of his four commissioners have formally asked Wheeler to make the document public, the decision to keep the document under wraps is raising eyebrows – and hackles.
Commissioner Pai this morning put out a statement complaining about the decision not to release information and highlighting six concerns he has with the proposed plan. “I am disappointed that the plan will not be released publicly,” he noted.