“Hours after President Obama called for the Federal Communications Commission to pass tougher regulations on high-speed Internet providers, the agency’s Democratic Chairman Tom Wheeler told a group of business executives that he was moving in a different direction,” Brian Fung and Nancy Scola report for The Washington Post. “Huddled in an FCC conference room Monday with officials from major Web companies, including Google, Yahoo and Etsy, agency Chairman Tom Wheeler said he has preferred a more nuanced solution.”

“White House aides had wrestled over whether Obama should publicly prod the FCC to adopt the strongest rules possible on the ‘net neutrality’ issue. Ultimately, aides felt that a public stance would galvanize allies in Congress as well as young, tech-savvy progressives, a key part of the Democratic base, according to several people familiar with the matter. The decision to speak out also comes as Democrats are aggressively courting Silicon Valley in preparation for the 2016 campaigns,” Fung and Scola report. “But the move by the White House has put Wheeler in an uncomfortable spotlight. The two men have long been allies. Wheeler raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Obama’s campaign and advised the president on his transition into the White House. Obama last year appointed Wheeler to lead the FCC as it was poised to tackle its biggest issue in years — the rules that govern content on the Web.”

“The aides saw a political upside to a strong statement. A key contingent of the president’s base — young, tech-savvy progressives — would be energized by the action, and a strong statement on net neutrality could also help his relationship with congressional Democrats, according to government and industry officials… ‘I see him almost salivating over a congressional fight, or a fight with the carriers, over this issue,” said the aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk on the record. “This is a populist issue he thinks he can win on,'” Fung and Scola report. “Wheeler worries that the president’s more drastic approach is too simplistic, according to people familiar with his thinking. With his long experience in the telecommunications industry, Wheeler is well aware of concerns that ill-considered regulations could stifle innovation and slow the growth of the country’s broadband infrastructure, those people said. And he worries that the White House is being naive about the ripple effects of changing how a major piece of national infrastructure is governed.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

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