FCC's Wheeler: Net Neutrality Proposal Needs More Work

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler signaled Monday he would treat the President's call for Title II reclassification of Internet access as an "important" and "welcome" addition to the record — which contains millions of comments — and that the FCC still had some work to do to come up with new network neutrality rules.

"Ten years have passed since the Commission started down the road towards enforceable Open Internet rules," he said in a statement. "We must take the time to get the job done correctly, once and for all, in order to successfully protect consumers and innovators online."

Wheeler has been seeking comment on what authority to use to restore Open Internet rules thrown out by the court. His initial proposal did not include Title II, but is considering a hybrid approach that could use both Title II common carrier regs and Sec. 706 authority to promote broadband deployment.

"The President’s statement is an important and welcome addition to the record of the Open Internet proceeding. Like the President, I believe that the Internet must remain an open platform for free expression, innovation, and economic growth," Wheeler said in a statement on the President's plan for a Title II approach. "We both oppose Internet fast lanes. The Internet must not advantage some to the detriment of others. We cannot allow broadband networks to cut special deals to prioritize Internet traffic and harm consumers, competition and innovation. 

"As an independent regulatory agency we will incorporate the President’s submission into the record of the Open Internet proceeding. We welcome comment on it and how it proposes to use Title II of the Communications Act."

Wheeler said Monday that the FCC would need more time to consider the various hybrid and other approaches to net neutrality. "The more deeply we examined the issues around the various legal options, the more it has become plain that there is more work to do," he said.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.