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U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler testifies before a House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing on oversight of the FCC on Capitol Hill in Washington May 20, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS TELECOMS) - RTR3Q1R2
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler testifies on net neutrality

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler testified before a House oversight committee Tuesday for the first time since the FCC moved forward with a controversial net neutrality proposal. As expected, he got an earful from Republicans who want the FCC to forego any internet regulation, and Democrats who want a level playing field enforced by government.
Many Democrats think Wheeler's effort doesn't go far enough in asserting stronger regulatory powers to prevent broadband providers from charging companies more for higher-speed delivery of their content.

"Paid prioritization divides the Internet into haves and have-nots, and it will entrench the big companies at the expense of start-ups," said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills). […]

Republicans oppose any Net neutrality rules, arguing that the Internet has flourished in large part because it has been free from heavy government regulation. They are particularly upset about the idea of reclassifying Internet providers as so-called common carriers, similar to phone companies.

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) said such a move would "give the bureaucrats at the FCC the authority to second-guess business decisions and to regulate every possible aspect of the Internet."

That's the best possible example of conflicting ideology as you can imagine. Democrats are looking out to protect the little guy, Republicans looking out for the big companies that could profit even more if the watchdogs are called off. Wheeler has attempted to find a middle path, making no one happy—except the telecoms.

If Wheeler truly wants what he says he wants—"There's not a fast Internet and a slow Internet ... and when the consumer buys access to the Internet, they are buying access to the full Internet and that’s what our rules attempt to protect"—he has pretty much just one choice. That's reclassifying broadband as a public utility that the FCC has a clear, legal path to oversee.

Please sign our petition to the FCC to keep a free and open internet.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue May 20, 2014 at 11:20 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (27+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Tue May 20, 2014 at 11:20:20 AM PDT

  •  What is a lobbyist to do? (10+ / 0-)

    Wheeler has to feel like he is in an impossible position.  As a lead lobbyist for the cable industry his loyalty is to ensure that the FCC rigs the game as the cable industry could most wish for.

    On the other hand he is in a Founding Father sort of position and the way his FCC comes down on Net Neutrality will be as much reviewed by future students of history as Thomas Jefferson or James Madison's work.

    In truth the Internet will more and more, be where the effective marketplace of ideas will be found.

    The major media conglomerates have pretty much made it impossible for a free exchange of ideas to take place in the conventional media.

    No surprise they want to take the Internet into the same system of control.  

    Notice that Wheeler refers to everyone as consumers.  There are no citizens on a cable bill.

    We need to get everyone possible to pile on about Title II and common carriage.

    Whoever besides the FCC anyone can think of to work on to convince or offer some persuasion to- now is the time.

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Tue May 20, 2014 at 11:41:46 AM PDT

  •  Is the GOP base against net neutrality? (4+ / 0-)

    seems to me the freepers and their ilk should have just as much concern about telecoms censoring the Net as we do.

    1. Books are for use.

    by looty on Tue May 20, 2014 at 02:58:27 PM PDT

  •  It's past time for the President to intervene, if (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, tardis10, Patango, OuijaForestCat

    he believes anything he has ever said about opportunity and/or the internet.

    Way past time.

    Once you put convenient, lethal force in the mix, liberty becomes a zero sum game. -- DIgby on open carry.

    by Rikon Snow on Tue May 20, 2014 at 03:33:17 PM PDT

    •  WAY past time. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Bad enough that Obama appointed scumbag Wheeler in the first place, but then to sit like a potted plant while the rank and file of his party fights the good fight against his own scumbag appointee?    Kinda hard to put a good face on that.   A person could be forgiven for thinking perhaps Obama never really believed his own rhetoric about net neutrality.

  •  Home run! (6+ / 0-)
    If Wheeler truly wants what he says he wants—"There's not a fast Internet and a slow Internet ... and when the consumer buys access to the Internet, they are buying access to the full Internet and that’s what our rules attempt to protect"—he has pretty much just one choice. That's reclassifying broadband as a public utility that the FCC has a clear, legal path to oversee.

    "Inevitability" diminishes free will and replaces it with self-fulfilling prophecies."--Geenius At Wrok

    by lunachickie on Tue May 20, 2014 at 03:33:38 PM PDT

    •  The DC Circuit Court already said so (0+ / 0-)

      They said no Net neutrality—not even rules approximating it—without Telecom Act Title II and the "common carrier" status that goes with it. The Court had the authority to decide that way, and they were right to decide that way.

      Lake Net-Be-Gone: Where Everyone Is Above Average
      The unbearable clarity of "common carrier" status
      By Simplify, May 19, 2014
      Leading into that statement [emphatically supporting an open Internet], Chairman Wheeler proposed a bunch of Net neutrality rules that he said he'd favor—all things that the ISPs would sue to overturn, and that the courts would duly strike down. Again. And that's after he said that sticking with Title I would make for rules that are less likely to face court challenges.

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Tue May 20, 2014 at 05:15:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Remind me again: WHO invented the internet? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, Santa Susanna Kid
  •  I'm going to float two alternative ideas (0+ / 0-)

    1) Having different rules based on how monopolistic a local market is for broadband providers.  What if providing Internet services is classified as a public utility only in places where there is no strong competition?  (Is that everywhere in the US?)

    2) Permitting slow and fast lanes, but capping the ratio of speeds between the slowest and fastest tiers.

  •  "Democrats are looking to protect the little guy" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Irony alert.  Have we forgotten who appointed Tom Wheeler?   Democratic president Barack Obama, that's who.   Obama is also playing the deaf-mute bystander in this whole matter.  Where the hell is he?  His silence is damning, and I don't hear any Democratic congresscritters prodding his skinny butt to get moving and help fix what be broke when he appointed a telecom lobbyist to head the FCC.

  •  Diary (0+ / 0-)
    Wheeler has attempted to find a middle path
    And this is what a lot of dems do not get , I am talking about dems who are easily out raged about any criticism of our party

    I have been voting for 30 years and watched us find the "GOP middle path" on HUD, savings and loans , education , department of labor , FCC, SEC, DoD ,  CIA , and every time dem reps assure us that average citizens will be represented in the DEAL , but  the end result for the most part has been , the GOP and the top 3% get most of what they want , and everyone else ends up with ineffectual crumbs

    I helped put Obama in office , Ia. Sen Tom Harkin , and keep our U S House seat blue , and I am done with keeping THE MIDDLE PATH in power

    Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

    by Patango on Tue May 20, 2014 at 05:53:33 PM PDT

  •  What happens when the GOP controls the FCC? (0+ / 0-)

    If broadband is reclassified, while that may have positive policy implications under a Democratic President/FCC, are there concerns that under GOP control the FCC could move in the other direction in a more problematic way than if net neutrality is achieved via other means?

    •  That is the real question (0+ / 0-)

      Wheeler's proposal deflects attention away from the long term future.

      Is he being myopic or is he betting the public is?

      hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

      by Stuart Heady on Thu May 22, 2014 at 03:01:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So Verizon Fios is already throttling games.. (0+ / 0-)

    A major patch came out for a relatively popular game, and all FIOS users are getting throttled.  I wonder if they are going to introduce a new 'tier' for video game content..

  •  Third-rail (0+ / 0-)

    What shocks me is that this isn't a third-rail issue. In a sane world, anyone who heads the FCC and dances around with the undermining of net neutrality would quickly be facing the end of their career.

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