TV Industry Group Slams FCC Ahead of Net Neutrality Vote

1:29 PM PST 05/14/2014 by Paul Bond
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FCC chairman Tom Wheeler

The Internet "is about to be twisted and ripped from the hands of we who depend upon it and recreate it on a daily basis," reads a letter from The Caucus for Producers, Writers and Directors.

The Caucus for Producers, Writers and Directors -- an honor society that has certainly had its political disagreements in the past -- appears united on the issue of net neutrality, in that the Federal Communications Commission shouldn't be involved at all.

The Caucus has penned an open letter to lawmakers and the FCC that calls into question the agency's jurisdiction over the Internet, a technology they say has worked remarkably well and does not need to be fixed by bureaucrats.

The Caucus, which describes itself as "an alliance of television and new media content creators," writes in its open letter that the FCC "seem sure that while the Internet isn't broken and in fact works with brilliant efficiency, it will not survive unless they fix it."

STORY: FCC Will Vote on Net Neutrality Thursday Despite Protests

The five members of the FCC are expected to pass net neutrality proposals as early as Thursday, which would allow broadband providers to sell premium access to the Internet but not slow down other traffic. The proposals -- which even if passed will only serve to initiate a process of public feedback and further research -- also floats the idea of reclassifying the Internet as a public utility.

"This authority has not been directly delegated to them by Congress but they're quite certain it is within their jurisdiction anyway," the Caucus says in its letter. "This means one of the greatest creations in modern history, a creation that directly affects and shapes the lives of every human being on the planet, is about to be twisted and ripped from the hands of we who depend upon it and recreate it on a daily basis."

The Caucus also objects to the FCC's plan to end public hearings 30 days after they begin.

"This is the only input they will receive before having their way with what, according to industry sources, is a $14.4 trillion industry," reads the Caucus letter. "We appeal to members of Congress in both the House and Senate -- indeed, all Americans -- to speak up now and prevent government by dictatorial regulation."

The Caucus is a group founded after a Writers Guild strike in 1973 and made headlines a few years ago when some of its members were caught on tape disparaging the political right and acknowledging that they insert liberal messages into TV shows. Those revelations led to a unanimous resolution that the group repudiates political prejudice.

Email: Paul.Bond@THR.com

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