Things are looking good for Net Neutrality.
In a one-on-one conversation with Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) President Gary Shapiro on January 7th, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler (sometimes referred to as a dingo) has implied that rules governing broadband communications will be based on Title II of the Communications Act – which is what most Net Neutrality activists and I have been hoping for.
But for the TL;DR crowd here are some sound bytes:
“…it became obvious that commercially reasonable could be interpreted as what is reasonable for the ISPs, not what is reasonable for consumers or innovators,” Wheeler said. “And that’s the wrong question and the wrong answer because the issue here is how do we make sure that consumers and innovators have open access to networks. That led us to a more robust investigation of the well established concept of just and reasonable, which is a Title II concept. And as I said, Title II has always been something that was on the table. So last summer we began investigating various approaches using title II as a way to get to just and reasonable because it has the best protections.”
”What’s interesting also is that other ISPs, smaller ISPs, like the rural carriers, competitive ISPs, have all come in and said, ‘we like Title II, we hope you’ll do Title II,'” Wheeler added.
“It just so happens that 20 years ago I was the guy that negotiated on behalf of the wireless industry to establish Section 332,” Wheeler said. “Section 332 says that wireless should be regulated under Title II as a common carrier, except that the FCC is instructed to forbear from onerous provisions and inappropriate provisions of Title II, except for section 201 and 202, which is just and reasonable, and Section 208, which is consumer protection,” he added.
Shapiro summed up, saying, “what I heard you say is, without totally confirming it, is you’re going down the Title II path, [and] that the wireless model is a good model, and the wireless model said forbear by law except for a couple of sections.” Wheeler did not dispute that assessment.