[NA-Discuss] FCC Comments

Glenn McKnight mcknight.glenn at gmail.com
Wed Feb 4 20:54:57 UTC 2015


Chairman Wheeler Backs Regulating Internet As Public Utility
FEBRUARY 04, 2015 7:03 AM ET
[image: Elise Hu] <http://www.npr.org/people/144449221/elise-hu>
Facebook <https://www.facebook.com/officialelisehu> Twitter
[image: Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler unveiled his
plan in a Wired op-ed on Wednesday. The FCC is scheduled to vote on the
proposal Feb. 26.]i

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler unveiled his plan in
a *Wired* op-ed on Wednesday. The FCC is scheduled to vote on the proposal
Feb. 26.
Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

*Updated Feb. 4, 11:52 a.m. ET: Wheeler Outlines His Proposal InWired.*

Today is the day net neutrality watchers had been waiting for, according to
numerous reports. After months of debate, discussion and the culling of
nearly 4 million public comments on the matter, the Federal Communications
Commission appears poised to decide how it will regulate the Internet.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler laid out his proposal in a first-person essay
Wednesday in *Wired*
<http://www.wired.com/2015/02/fcc-chairman-wheeler-net-neutrality>. He
proposes using the FCC's authority to regulate the Internet as a utility,

"I am proposing that the FCC use its Title II authority to implement and
enforce open internet protections.

"Using this authority, I am submitting to my colleagues the strongest open
internet protections ever proposed by the FCC. These enforceable,
bright-line rules will ban paid prioritization, and the blocking and
throttling of lawful content and services. I propose to fully apply—for the
first time ever—those bright-line rules to mobile broadband. My proposal
assures the rights of internet users to go where they want, when they want,
and the rights of innovators to introduce new products without asking
anyone's permission."

The FCC issued more details of Wheeler's proposal
[image: Randall Stephenson, chairman and CEO of AT&T, introduces President
Obama before the latter's remarks Dec. 3 at the quarterly meeting of the
Business Roundtable, a group Stephenson chairs. Stephenson has said that
increasing regulation of the broadband industry — as proposed by the
president — would have a substantial chilling effect on its investment in
ALL TECH CONSIDERED <http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/>Would FCC
Plan Harm Telecom Investment? Even Industry Opinion Is Mixed
[image: President Obama called on the Federal Communications Commission to
implement a strict policy of net neutrality and to oppose content providers
in restricting bandwidth to customers.]
ALL TECH CONSIDERED <http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/>The Battle
Over Open-Internet Rules Shifts To Congress
[image: President Obama speaks at Cedar Falls Utilities in Cedar Falls,
Iowa, on Wednesday. He encouraged the Federal Communications Commission to
pre-empt state laws that stifle competition for high-speed Internet
THE TWO-WAY <http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/>Broadband A 'Necessity,'
Obama Says, As He Pushes FCC To Expand Access

The FCC had to essentially start over on its net neutrality rules after its
old rules were struck down by a federal court
January 2014. Net neutrality is the concept that your Internet provider
should be a neutral gateway to everything on the Internet, not a gatekeeper
deciding to load some sites slower than others or impose fees for faster

At issue now is how to ensure this concept. Wheeler originally floated a
proposal last summer that received wide backlash from Silicon Valley
companies, open-Internet supporters and even the White House. So the new
proposal would "fundamentally change the way it oversees high-speed
Internet service," *The Wall Street Journal* reports
It would do so by proposing to regulate the Internet as a public utility,
like telecom companies.

The move is supported by President Obama, who made waves last fall when he came
out in support
treating Internet service providers like telecommunications companies. It
would subject the ISPs to closer oversight of how they manage traffic on
their networks. For example, the FCC would ban broadband providers from
slowing down your Netflix streams.

Some cable companies and their lobbying groups have fervently opposed this,
support an open Internet and believe any additional government regulation
will stifle innovation and investment. (NPR's Joel Rose on Tuesday examined
whether investment would indeed be stifled

What would this proposal mean for you, in the short term? *WSJ* says not

"The rules shouldn't change how most consumers experience the Internet in
the short-term, as they would largely codify what has been voluntary
practice for the broadband industry. Down the road, however, they could
make it easier for companies to offer bandwidth-hungry services such as
online video-streaming without having to first seek approval or enter into
business arrangements with the broadband providers.

"Changing the broadband industry's regulatory status could also have
ramifications beyond the immediate question of how to enforce net
neutrality. While Mr. Obama and others have said they don't want the FCC
setting prices for broadband providers, a future FCC may decide
differently. Reclassifying broadband as a telecommunications service may
also amplify calls for the government to subsidize the deployment and
adoption of broadband networks in underserved areas."

The FCC is expected to vote on Wheeler's latest proposal Feb. 26.
Glenn McKnight
mcknight.glenn at gmail.com
skype  gmcknight
twitter gmcknight

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