Newspaper article Roll Call

Net Neutrality: Reaction and Waiting for Details

Newspaper article Roll Call

Net Neutrality: Reaction and Waiting for Details

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Net Neutrality: Reaction and Waiting for Details

By Anne L. Kim Posted at 5:39 p.m. on Feb. 4

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On Wednesday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler unveiled the net neutrality proposal he'll send to fellow commissioners. The proposal he laid out in an op-ed in Wired drew expected criticism from telecom groups and Republicans and praise from Democrats, public interest groups and others, with some who praised the move noting that they're keeping their eye out for the details (the text of the rules haven't been released).

As background, Wheeler is proposing to treat Internet service providers as common carriers, reclassifying broadband service as a telecommunications service under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act, the same portion of law the agency uses to regulate phone companies and other common carriers. That reclassification would also cover wireless broadband. The rules would bar blocking, throttling and paid prioritization.

"The proposed Order applies some key provisions of Title II, and forbears from most others," an FCC fact sheet says. And it notes that the rules would also give the agency authority to take enforcement actions on a case-by-case basis if "interconnection activities of ISPs are not just and reasonable."

Here's some of the initial reaction:

Matt Wood, policy director at Free Press, a consumer advocacy group:

We're now one step closer to restoring real public interest protections to our nation's communications policies. If the full FCC adopts the chairman's proposal, and it's free of any last-minute surprises, then everyone's right to communicate freely online will be secured.

Chris Lewis, vice president of government affairs at the consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge, :

Public Knowledge commends Chairman Wheeler for siding with network users by announcing his support for strong Open Internet rules grounded in Title II authority. This is a historic announcement by Chairman Wheeler, and a decision that consumers have been demanding for some time. Americans have waited over a year for the FCC to restore the Open Internet protections that were vacated by the DC Circuit Court. …

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