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Ro Khanna pushes back on criticism of his net neutrality comment

California Rep. Ro Khanna has become an aggressive critic of the Trump-era FCC. Photo: Ben Margot / AP

Rep. Ro Khanna — a Democrat who represents parts of Silicon Valley — defended a controversial statement he made in a conversation with his local paper last week that pointed to Portugal as an example of what happens when regulations don't protect net neutrality.

What he's saying:

  • Backers of the repeal of U.S. net neutrality rules note that Portugal is subject to Europe-wide rules. But Khanna says they're too weak on "zero rating" programs that let internet customers view certain content without counting against their monthly data caps.
  • "The strongest form would be net neutrality with a significant ban on zero rating. Right below that is what FCC Chair Wheeler did under the Obama administration: net neutrality with a case-by-case review of zero rating by the FCC," he told the San Jose Mercury News.

Reality check: Republicans at the FCC are already set on repealing the Obama-era rules this month. There's zero political support on Capitol Hill to enact something even tougher.