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Policy


FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler denied that he’s trying to divide the Internet into fast and slow lanes in response to a letter sent earlier this week by some of the U.S.’s largest Internet companies.

On Friday, Wheeler responded to a letter he received earlier this week from more than 100 Internet giants and startups who complained about his proposed net neutrality rules, which would allow Internet providers to charge content providers extra for fast lanes to consumer homes.

In the letter, Wheeler said he recently “made clear that if someone acts to divide the Internet between ‘haves’ and ‘have nots,’ I will use every power at our disposal to stop it, including Title II. I will not allow some companies to force Internet users into a slow lane so that others with special privileges can have superior service.”

Wheeler, a former lobbyist and venture capitalist, said that his personal experience trying to get carriage on cable providers when running a content provider made him sensitive to the issue of blocking. “I was subject to being blocked from access to cable networks. It is an experience that made me especially wary of the power of closed networks to innovate on their own agenda to the detriment of small entrepreneurs,” he wrote.

“We’re glad to see the chairman reiterating his support for net neutrality,” said Alan Davidson of the New America Foundation, which helped pull the Internet companies’ letter together. “The key question is what this means for the commission’s Open Internet proceeding. We hope it signals real progress toward stronger protections for consumers against discrimination on their Internet connections.”

Wheeler has proposed rules that would bar Internet providers from blocking Internet sites or applications. It would also require Internet providers to be more transparent with consumers about how they are operating their networks. But the proposal has drawn criticism for Wheeler’s plan to allow for prioritized access. He has said that any company that tried to offer such fast-lane service to content companies would come under heavy scrutiny from the FCC and might be barred from doing so.

Consumer groups and net neutrality activists would prefer that Wheeler reclassify or regulate broadband lines under rules written for old phone networks. Internet providers have fought previous efforts to do so. In the letter to the Internet companies, Wheeler promised that the agency will consider “whether Title II or Section 706 of the Communications Act is the best way to address the matter of Internet openness.”

The agency is scheduled to take up Wheeler’s net neutrality proposal on Thursday, despite requests from two FCC commissioners to postpone the vote so they can get more comment from consumers.

Here’s Wheeler’s letter:

FCC Chairman Wheeler's Net Neutrality Response



8 comments
sogoodnobody2014
sogoodnobody2014

The current legal wording available in regards to Internet equality and contexts of use is apparently far too

vague, needs to be rewritten by congress either way. The Republicans in congress can certainly be trusted to write an appropriately fair set of rules for ordinary folks right? Or would they prefer to make up their own rules as they go along?

Piplzchoice
Piplzchoice

When you listen to the words of politician, corporate or government, always remember that the meaning of these words is exactly the opposite. "

Divide Internet Into “Haves” and “Have Nots” is exactly what he is doing - denials only confirm that.

Hioo
Hioo

AT&T* has invested nearly $675 million in its best-in-class wireless and wired networks in Kentuckybetween 2011 through 2013, driving a wide range of upgrades to enhance speed, reliability, coverage and performance for residents and business customers.

Advancing its Project Velocity IP (VIP), an investment plan to expand and enhance its wireless and wired IP broadband networks, AT&T in 2013 made 760 network upgrades in Kentucky, including new cell sites, addition of wireless and wired network capacity, and new broadband network connections. Additionally, AT&T expanded the reach of its network, providing access to U-verse® Internet and video services to nearly 20,000 new customer locations and delivering powerful fiber-optic connections to 555 business locations at 27 multi-tenant business buildings and business parks.

Notable Kentucky network enhancements in 2013 included:

  • Launching AT&T's 4G LTE network in 110 cities in Kentucky.
  • The completion of a new Distributed Antenna System (DAS) at Churchill Downs in Louisville, home to the world famous Kentucky Derby, to enhance the customer experience where crowds can reach more than 150,000 on Derby day.
  • The launch of AT&T Digital Life in Louisville. With Digital Life, customers can use their existing home broadband provider, and any wireless phone service, and enjoy the security and convenience of a home management system with the flexibility to meet their unique needs.

AT&T provides the nation's most reliable 4G LTE network today, covering more than 280 million Americans with 4G LTE service.**

AT&T U-verse is delivered over AT&T's advanced IP network and includes AT&T U-verse High Speed Internet, AT&T U-verse TV, and AT&T U-verse Voice.***  AT&T U-verse TV customers enjoy Total Home DVR®, apps for entertainment on the go, and integrated features. AT&T was named Frost & Sullivan Video Company of the Year for 2013. 

AT&T operates the nation's largest Wi-Fi network**** including more than 32,000 AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots at popular restaurants, hotels, bookstores and retailers, and provides access to more than 529,000 hotspots globally through roaming agreements. Most AT&T smartphone customers get access to our entire national Wi-Fi network at no additional cost, and Wi-Fi usage doesn't count against customers' monthly wireless data plans.

For more information about AT&T's coverage in Kentucky or anywhere in the United States, consumers can visit the AT&T Coverage Viewer.  For updates on the AT&T wireless network, please visit the AT&T network newspage.

* AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

** Reliability claim based on data transfer completion rates on nationwide 4G LTE networks.  LTE is a trademark of ETSI. 4G LTE not available everywhere.

*** Geographic and service restrictions apply to AT&T U-verse services. Call or go to www.att.com/u-verse to see if you qualify.

**** Largest based on company branded and operated hotspots.

To define a market, we rely on the Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSA), as established by the United States Office of Management and Budget.  Minor differences, if any, between annual totals reflect annual updating of market boundaries in our record systems.

Mergatroid69
Mergatroid69

This guy is a player...even though he is already immeasurably wealthy, somehow I think he is angling for a big position/deal with Comcast after he leaves the FCC, which I predict will be very, very soon... 

Noge
Noge

Does it really matter what the public wants? Today the President was at Wal-Mart kissing its a**, conveniently forgetting about the plight of its workers.

Both the Republican and Democrat parties are hopelessly corrupted by corporate money and influence; Comcast has its man at the FCC and it will get whatever it wants.

Chocolate Milk-sheik
Chocolate Milk-sheik

Last week, at the convention of the nation's cable broadband providers, I made clear that

if someone acts to divide the Internet between haves and have nots, I will use every power at

our disposal to stop it, including Title II.


Why not act now to prevent it instead of waiting for it to occur and then trying to stop it?  I'm sure firefighters would rather be fire preventers.

sogoodnobody2014
sogoodnobody2014

@Piplzchoice  It depends how you look at it... Currently a cable TV box can generate crisp HD TV and and typically most Internet connections can't produce a crisp HD TV view competing with Internet browsers in high demand periods. If you speed up video feeds for the Internet the cable box now has a comparable foe on the Internet where smartphones come into play. What exactly is the definition of equality then? The end result is less important than the beginning? Don't be so foolish as to believe this to be black and white simple. It is many shades of gray with compromises to be made. The small print, context is everything in these arguments.

mknopp
mknopp

@Piplzchoice No, you don't understand. He isn't going to divide it into "Haves" and "Have Nots". He is going to divide the internet into "Haves" and "Have Mores".


See? Totally different. See?! It is completely different.


My daughter asked me the other day what a politician was. I told her it was someone who could talk for an hour and not say anything. This guy is a politician. His words are meaningless.