FCC Net Neutrality Vote at End of February, Wheeler Leans Towards Title II
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler expressed his support for Title II reclassification in the ongoing net neutrality debate and announced that the FCC will vote on the matter at the end of February.
Speaking to a crowd at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week, Wheeler shared his thoughts on the net neutrality debate while revealing he would submit his proposal for internal review Feb. 5. The FCC would then take the decisive vote Feb. 26.
"The whole open Internet issue is two challenges," Wheeler said. "The first is you want to make sure that innovators and consumers have open access to the networks. ...The other component that you have to deal with is you want to make sure that you're creating an environment that provides sufficient incentive for the ISPs to want to build more and better networks."
Net neutrality implies just what it sounds like -- an open and free Internet where no content is prioritized over others. This means highly in-demand content like Netflix would not receive special "fast lanes" and extra bandwidth measures. In essence, every bit of of the Internet should, in theory, have the same accessibility.
At the crux of the debate is the reclassification of the Internet from Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act (PL 104-104) to Title II of the 1934 Communications Act. Although nothing has been confirmed, Wheelers comments make it seem as if he is leaning towards Title II reclassification, a move supported by the Obama administration as the proper legal tool to enforce fair openness on the Internet.
"So the time has come for the FCC to recognize that broadband service is of the same importance and must carry the same obligations as so many of the other vital services do," reads President Obama's statement on net neutrality. "To do that, I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act -- while at the same time forbearing from rate regulation and other provisions less relevant to broadband services. This is a basic acknowledgment of the services ISPs provide to American homes and businesses, and the straightforward obligations necessary to ensure the network works for everyone - not just one or two companies."
"We're going to come out with what I hope will be the gold standard in how open Internet and investment ought to go," Wheeler said at CES 2015.
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