Friday, January 9, 2015

FCC Chairman Strongly Hints He’ll Favor Internet Reclassification – CES

by David Lieberman
January 7, 2015 2:24pm

Chairman Tom Wheeler didn’t say so directly, but he left little doubt that he and fellow Democrats on the FCC will stand up to cable and telco Internet providers next month by adopting net neutrality rules that redefine broadband as a regulated, communications service. ISPs have said that such a move would chill investment. But for the last 20 years the wireless industry has been regulated under so-called Title 2 rules — with provisions limiting the FCC’s ability to set prices — and it “has been monumentally successful,” Wheeler said today at the International CES conference in Las Vegas. “There is a way to do Title 2 right …A model has been set in the wireless business.”

The trade show reinforced his belief that the FCC needs to prohibit Internet service providers from playing favorites, for example by offering speedier service to some content providers over others. “The message that comes across is that the Internet of things opportunities that are out there on the floor demand open networks,” Wheeler says. “That’s the path we’re going down.” Last year a federal Appeals Court remanded net neutrality rules the FCC adopted in 2010. Justices said that the agency had overreached its authority as long as it defines the Internet as a lightly regulated information service.

Wheeler says he’ll circulate his net neutrality proposal on February 5, aiming for a vote on February 26.