FCC's Wheeler Called To Testify Before House Panel, Defends Net Proposal At NCTA Cable Show
May 1, 2014 at 4:24 AM (PT)
While FCC Chairman TOM WHEELER defended his plan for broadband that has come under fire as a threat to Net neutrality before the NATIONAL CABLE AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATION's CABLE SHOW 2014 in LOS ANGELES WEDNESDAY (4/30), Rep. GREG WALDEN (R-OR) announced that WHEELER has been summoned to appear as the sole witness before a House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology hearing on MAY 20th.
WALDEN said, “I am pleased that Chairman WHEELER will join us in MAY. This will be our first opportunity to directly discuss issues important to our technology economy, including recent proposals regarding the incentive auctions, the latest iteration of the administration’s ill advised net neutrality policies, and the broadcast joint sharing agreements and media ownership proceedings at the commission. Process reform also remains a top priority for the committee, and we look forward to discussing this with the chairman. We also welcome the opportunity to find areas of common ground as we work toward updating the Communications Act. We look forward to what will surely be a thorough and spirited discussion with Chairman WHEELER.”
At the NCTA, WHEELER defended his notice on the Internet, which would allow ISPs to charge content providers for faster access to subscribers, insisting, "Reports that we are gutting the Open Internet rules are incorrect. I am here to say wait a minute. Put away the party hats. The Open Internet rules will be tough, enforceable ... Our proposed course of action builds on the court’s strong legal justification for regulation that guarantees every user the ability to effectively use the Internet. We are beyond the question of the scope of the FCC’s authority; the court has decided that. Knowing that authority, we now must move expeditiously to make it manifest."
On the contention that the Commission's use of a “commercially reasonable” test to allow premium access could result in a “fast lane” and Internet “haves” and “have nots,” WHEELER said, "This misses the point that any new rule will assure an open pathway that is sufficiently robust to enable consumers to access the content, services and applications they demand and innovators and edge providers the ability to offer new products and services. Put another way, the focus of this proposal – on which we are seeking comment – is on maintaining a broadly available, fast and robust Internet as a platform for economic growth, innovation, competition, free expression, and broadband investment and deployment. Our goal is rules that will encourage broadband providers to continually upgrade service to all. We will follow the court’s blueprint for achieving this, and, I must warn you, will look skeptically on special exceptions."
"In the 30 years since I last stood on this stage I have built new technology-based companies as an entrepreneur, and helped other companies grow as a venture capitalist," WHEELER contended. "I know in my bones how hard it is to start a company with innovative ideas. Now, as Chairman of the FCC, I do not intend to allow innovation to be strangled by the manipulation of the most important network of our time, the Internet ... Let me be clear. If someone acts to divide the Internet between 'haves' and 'have-nots,' we will use every power at our disposal to stop it."