×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler: Commission Is Not ‘Gutting’ Net Neutrality Rules

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler took the stage at the Cable Show 2014 to keep up his PR campaign defending the commission’s revised net neutrality regulations — and put cable operators on notice that he’ll act swiftly to stop any Internet service providers that abuse the principles of an open Internet.

“Let me be clear: If someone acts to divide the Internet between ‘haves’ and ‘have nots,’ we will use every power at our disposal to stop it,” Wheeler said. “I want to specifically direct these remarks to you, the principal providers of the nation’s broadband connectivity.”

Wheeler has come under fire from a range of critics who believe the so-called “fast lane” provision of the new rules will stymie competition and give ISPs free rein to discriminate against content providers.

SEE ALSO: FCC Chairman: New Internet Rules Will Be ‘Tough’ and ‘Enforceable’

According to Wheeler, those who have objected to the new net-neutrality rules don’t understand them, and he reiterated his complaint that reports have misconstrued the FCC’s plans.

“If you read some of the press accounts about what we propose to do, those of you who oppose net neutrality might feel like a celebration was in order,” he told the Cable Show attendees. But “reports that we are gutting the Open Internet rules are incorrect. I am here to say ‘wait a minute.’ Put away the party hats. The Open Internet rules will be tough, enforceable and, with the concurrence of my colleagues, in place with dispatch.”

In January, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned key portions of the FCC’s previous Open Internet order, including those prohibiting ISPs from blocking content and barring them from “unreasonable” discrimination in delivering content. Wheeler noted that the court found that “broadband providers represent a threat to Internet openness” and have “incentives to interfere” with competitors.

“The focus of this proposal… is on maintaining a broadly available, fast and robust Internet as a platform for economic growth, innovation, competition, free expression, and broadband investment and deployment,” Wheeler said. “Our goal is rules that will encourage broadband providers to continually upgrade service to all. We will follow the court’s blueprint for achieving this and, I must warn you, will look skeptically on special exceptions.”

Wheeler underscored that he’s considering all options to ensure an open Internet — including reclassifying broadband under Title II regulations of the Communications Act as a telecommunication service if need be. (Currently, the Internet access is essentially unregulated as an “information service.”) “Just because it is my strong belief that following the court’s road map will produce similar protections more quickly does not mean I will hesitate to use Title II if warranted,” he said.

He also said competition is vital for broadband to continue to thrive, calling out AT&T’s announced plans to deploy 1-gigabit-per-second networks in 100 communities and Cox Communications’ announcement that it expects to provide 1-Gbps Internet speeds later this year.

“When it comes to broadband, cable has… very limited regulation,” he said. “The only way to maintain this situation is for (operators) to uphold your responsibilities.”

More Biz

  • Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein (L)

    Harvey Weinstein Reneged on Payoff to HR Director, Suit Claims

    The former Human Resources director of the Weinstein Co. filed a lawsuit on Tuesday, claiming he never received a $450,000 payout he was promised in the wake of the New York Times’ expose in October 2017. Frank Gil alleges that Weinstein promised him the money on Oct. 6, the day after the Times’ story ran. [...]

  • Plume of black smoke rising from

    Attorney for Universal Music Artists Impacted by 2008 Fire Requests Inventory

    Following on its statements last week that it will be filing a lawsuit on behalf of several Universal Music recording artists impacted by a 2008 fire that destroyed a huge number of master recordings, a Los Angeles law firm has requested a “complete inventory” from the company. Addressed to UMG CEO and chairman Lucian Grainge, [...]

  • Charles Caldas To Step Down as

    Charles Caldas To Step Down as Merlin CEO

    Charles Caldas, the only CEO that the independent-label collective Merlin has ever known, announced today that he will step down from his post at the end of 2019, after more than 12 years at the helm of the global rights organization. He will continue his current duties until then and work with the Merlin board to [...]

  • Merlin Reports Record Distributions for 2019

    Merlin Reports Record Distributions for 2019

    Global indie-label collective Merlin reported record distributions in its 2019 membership report, paying $845 million to label and distributor members between April 2018 and March of this year. That figure, a 63% year-over-year increase, includes more than $130 million paid out this year from non-royalty income — and included in that figure is the estimated [...]

  • Dwyane Wade on Supporting His Son

    NBA Star Dwyane Wade on Supporting His Son's Attendance at Miami Pride

    NBA star Dwyane Wade spoke to Variety about why it was important for him to support his younger son attending a pride parade last spring. In April, Wade’s then 11-year-old son Zion posted pictures of himself at Miami Pride, with his siblings and stepmother Gabrielle Union. Wade, who was on the road with the Miami [...]

  • Songs for Screens Powered by Mac

    Songs for Screens: How Eric Church Teamed With Ram Trucks — and Five Tons of Vinyl — for ‘Solid’ Campaign

    Country star Eric Church has long used his new music to reward his loyal fans, from surprise releasing 2015’s “Mr. Misunderstood” album as a direct fan-club exclusive to impromptu meet-and-greets before his hometown show in Greensboro, North Carolina. So when Church was prepping the April vinyl release of 2018’s critically acclaimed “Desperate Man,” the singer [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein legal team

    Harvey Weinstein Loses Another Defense Lawyer

    Harvey Weinstein has lost another defense lawyer, just three months before he is set to go on trial for rape and sexual assault. Attorney Jose Baez told the judge overseeing the case that Weinstein had taken actions that made it difficult to represent him, according to a letter obtained by the New York Post. Baez [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content