Back in May of 2014, BRT did a post titled The Net as PUBLIC UTILITY, a piece discussing the importance of net neutrality and, in part, on Tom Wheeler's weasel words regarding NN that sounded like it came directly from the NCTA, which is the cable industry's largest lobbying group. where he served as president prior to his appointment to the FCC.
Fast forward to February, 2015 and the same Tom Wheeler does a 180 that surely warms the cockles of yours truly's heart to the max. :)
After waffling for months on the question of Net neutrality, who would have guessed that former telecom lobbyist Tom Wheeler would argue such a strong case for reclassifying broadband as a Title II common carrier? Though the FCC steered clear of onerous regulation, the reaction from telecoms has been largely a howl of distress.
It gets better:
The four-page FCC proposal applies to Internet access delivered over cable, DSL, and fiber, as well as mobile broadband networks. It has Net neutrality rules that forbid ISPs from blocking, throttling, or offering paid prioritization of content, but forgoes the strict utility regulation guaranteed to have telecoms up in arms. There will be no regulation of rates, no new tariffs, and no requiring ISPs to lease network access to competitors.
Opponents of the move have long warned that attempts to regulate the Internet would stifle innovation. Even before Wheeler unveiled his plan, telecoms were rattling their sabers. AT&T issued a preemptive strike on Monday, threatening to sue the government.
But in an editorial published in Wired, FCC chair Wheeler countered the argument that regulation would kill innovation and investment:
The Internet wouldn't have emerged as it did… if the FCC hadn't mandated open access for network equipment in the late 1960s. Before then, AT&T prohibited anyone from attaching non-AT&T equipment to the [telephone] network. The modems that enabled the Internet were usable only because the FCC required the network to be open.
Wouldn't it be nice if the supremes did the same thing regarding law and how it should apply to the public good just as Tom Wheeler did in reclassifying the net as a Public Utility given just how vital the web has become to civilization as we mover ever further into the 21st century.