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FCC to Use Title II for Net Neutrality

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On February 4, Chairman Wheeler announced in Wired that his new proposal for open internet rules will classify broadband under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. This differs from the proposal Wheeler discussed at the FCC’s May 15, 2014 open meeting.

“Originally, I believed that the FCC could assure internet openness through a determination of ‘commercial reasonableness’ under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. While a recent court decision seemed to draw a roadmap for using this approach, I became concerned that this relatively new concept might, down the road, be interpreted to mean what is reasonable for commercial interests, not consumers.”

Title II reclassification would give the FCC strong legal authority against content blocking and throttling as well as paid prioritization or “fast lanes.” Wheeler stated wanting to take a “light touch” approach to Title II; the FCC would not get involved in ISP’s pricing decisions to the same degree that it gets involved with utility companies’ pricing decisions.  The proposal details will be discussed and voted on at the FCC’s Feb. 26 open meeting.