Net Neutrality

FCC Chairman: Proposes The Internet Should Be Reclassified As A Utility

February 4, 2015 - Written By Cory McNutt

We have been on the subject of Net Neutrality for quite a while – even President Obama got involved with the discussion.  There was a lot of wavering and bickering from all sides and many wondered if the FCC would finally flex their extremely powerful muscles.  Tom Wheeler, the Chairman of the FCC, answered all of that as he made it official today – he will be seeking to put the Internet under the same ‘umbrella’ as our household utilities, such as electric, water and gas.  He said:

“After more than a decade of debate and a record-setting proceeding that attracted nearly 4 million public comments, the time to settle the Net Neutrality question has arrived. This week, I will circulate to the members of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed new rules to preserve the internet as an open platform for innovation and free expression.  This proposal is rooted in long-standing regulatory principles, marketplace experience, and public input received over the last several months.”

The consequences of this switch is big news for Net Neutrality and hopefully a big move forward as it addresses and fixes two things at once – for both hardwired side and wireless/cellular broadband side.  As Wheeler said, he is submitting, “the strongest open internet protections ever imposed by the FCC.”  This proposal will undoubtedly be aggressively lobbied against by the huge IPS – Time Warner, Comcast, AT&T and Verizon.

The main problem is that many large companies and their CEOs – such as T-Mobile and John Legere – say that they support Net Neutrality, but not under Title II being proposed by Wheeler and pushed by President Obama.  He wants it ‘open and free’ but not so strictly regulated that it would ‘stifle innovation.’  And therein lies the problem – the FCC was trying to stay out of it, hoping that businesses would ‘self-regulate’ themselves and do what is best for the consumer.  Don’t they know what happens when you leave the wolf in charge of the hen house?  Wheeler states it all below:

“Originally, I believed that the FCC could assure internet openness through a determination of “commercial reasonableness” under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.  While a recent court decision seemed to draw a roadmap for using this approach, I became concerned that this relatively new concept might, down the road, be interpreted to mean what is reasonable for commercial interests, not consumers.” Please hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know if you are in favor of reclassifying the Internet and what problems you foresee down the road…as always, we would love to hear from you.