Outgoing FCC chief Tom Wheeler offers final defense of so-called ‘net neutrality’

“The outgoing head of the Federal Communications Commission, Tom Wheeler, used his final public speech to make a closing argument for maintaining net neutrality, the signature achievement of his time at the agency,” Jacob Kastrenakes reports for The Verge.

“Under Trump, Republicans will regain a majority at the FCC and have already made clear their intention to begin pushing back on, if not completely rewriting or wiping out, the Open Internet Order that established net neutrality,” Kastrenakes reports. “Wheeler’s argument, at its core, is pretty simple. He says Republicans should actually take a look at what’s going on and see if the Open Internet Order has really been that bad — or whether it has, in fact, done some good.”

“Wheeler says efforts to undo the rules will face a ‘high hurdle’ because the commission is required to go through a public comment period and ultimately provide evidence showing that ‘so much has changed in just two short years that a reversal is justified,'” Kastrenakes reports. “Republicans could also use Congress to overturn net neutrality.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in August 2006:

We don’t presume to know the best way to get there, but we support the concept of “Net Neutrality” especially as it pertains to preventing the idea of ISP’s blocking or otherwise impeding sites that don’t pay the ISP to ensure equal access. That said, we usually prefer the government to be hands-off wherever possible, Laissez-faire, except in cases where the free market obviously cannot adequately self-regulate (antitrust, for example). Regulations are static and the marketplace is fluid, so such regulation can often have unintended, unforeseen results down the road. We sincerely hope that there are enough forces in place and/or that the balances adjust in such a manner as to keep the ‘Net as neutral as it is today.

And as we followed up in September 2009:

That we have the same Take over three years later should be telling. Government regulations are not a panacea, neither are the lack thereof. It’s all about striking a proper balance where innovation can thrive while abuses are prevented.

Make that “the same Take over a decade later.”

Under President Trump, Obama ally Google may face policy setbacks, including roll back of so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules – November 18, 2016
Jeb Bush on FCC and so-called ‘net neutrality’ regulation: ‘One of the craziest ideas I’ve ever heard’ – March 8, 2015
Who loves the FCC’s overreach on so-called ‘net neutrality?’ Telecom lawyers – March 5, 2015
Legal battles loom over FCC’s so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules – February 26, 2015
U.S. FCC OKs so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules on party-line vote – February 26, 2015
U.S. FCC’s rules for so-called ‘net neutrality’ expected to unleash slew of court challenges – February 26, 2015
EFF: ‘We are deeply concerned; FCC’s new rules include provision that sounds like a recipe for overreach’ – February 25, 2015
The U.S. FCC’s Orwellian Internet policy – February 25, 2015
Democratic FCC commissioner balks at so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules – February 24, 2015
FCC chief pressed to release proposed regulations governing so-called ‘net neutrality’ – February 23, 2015
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai: Obama’s plan a monumental shift toward government control of the Internet – February 10, 2015
Congress launches investigation as Republicans claim Obama had ‘improper influence’ over so-called ‘net neutrality’ – February 7, 2015
FCC chairman proposes to regulate ISP’s under Title II – February 4, 2015
U.S. congressional Republicans’ bill aims to head off Obama’s so-called ‘net neutrality’ plan – January 17, 2015
U.S. Congressional proposal offers Internet rules of the road – January 15, 2015
U.S. FCC says it will vote on so-called ‘net neutrality’ in February – January 3, 2015
FCC hopes its rules for so-called ‘net neutrality’ survive inevitable litigation – November 22, 2014
Obama-appointed FCC chairman distances himself from Obama on so-called ‘net neutrality’ – November 12, 2014
What does so-called ‘net neutrality’ mean for Apple? – November 12, 2014
AT&T to pause fiber investment until net neutrality rules are decided – November 12, 2014
There’s no one to root for in the debate over so-called ‘net neutrality’ – November 11, 2014
U.S. FCC plays Russian Roulette with so-called ‘net neutrality’ – November 11, 2014
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner: Republicans will continue efforts to stop misguided scheme to regulate the Internet – November 10, 2014
Tech Freedom: Obama cynically exploits confusion over Title II, misses opportunity to lead on legislative deal – November 10, 2014
Obama want FCC to regulate the Internet; Cruz calls it ‘Obamacare for the Internet’ – November 10, 2014


  1. Well stated. Without proper and well thought-out regulations, the bad players, the abusers, crooks, and opportunists inevitably rise to the top and create a nightmare for everybody. There has to be a level playing field where competition based on providing the best products and services thrives while keeping predatory and unfair business practices in check.

    I certainly don’t consider myself a flat-out socialist but, I also very much reject much of libertarianism too.

      1. True. The Internet stands as a spectacularly successful example of spontaneous order. The government hasn’t had much of an opportunity to completely fuck it up yet. The crap offered up as Net Neutrality by the Obama Administration was a ridiculous power grab for the government.

        Net Neutrality can be expressed in a paragraph. Thousands of pages of garbage designed for ancient telephone system was just a method of attaching buttons and knobs to give the government control.

        That being said, the basic form of net neutrality is needed, with some caveat for prioritizing emergency traffic when necessary.

        Basic net neutrality will allow me to choose whether or not I want to use services that are competitive to the carrier’s services, without experiencing punitive anti-competitive throttling.

        As for the rest of carrier shenanigans, existing antitrust law will be sufficient, if the public cares enough.

  2. Content providers should pay the ISP’s for “unequal access”. Netflix (for example) is a parasitic company that uses the most bandwidth of any company in the world. Why should bandwidth hogs not be able to pay a fee for a “fast lane” which gives a better user experience. Would that not be better than being mixed in with all the port 80 traffic? Would it not benefit an Internet VoIP provider to have a “fast lane” so they can get rid of packet loss (echoes, choppy calls, dropped calls)?

    We as consumers and businesses pay for better service all the time. Flying First Class, overnight delivery, driving in the express lane, TSA Pre-Check, passes at Disney to avoid the longer lines, Amazon Prime, Valet parking… you get the idea. Why should the ISP’s be treated differently; particularly the ones that do not take any Federal funds?

  3. “Net-Neutrality” was never “so-called”. It’s always been well defined:

    – the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favouring or blocking particular products or websites.

    So, don’t be suckered by corporatocracy propaganda. All those clowns want it to CORRUPT the Internet in their financial favor, NOT in favor of We The People, aka their customers.

    FCC Chief Tom Wheeler shocked-the-hell out of everyone by being BRILLIANT and creating and maintaining REAL Net-Neutrality in the USA. He and his fellow FCC members created the touch stone, the mile stone, that marks Net-Neutrality on into the future.

    If the new Clown Administration wrecks Net-Neutrality, you can BET Net-Neutrality will be back again once the clowns are stuffed back into their clown car and sent off the cliff of historical oblivion. Net-Neutrality is how the Internet actually WORKS, as opposed to FAILS.

    1. Well buddy, your head is going to absolutely explode regularly over the next 8 years. Trump is going to straighten out this country that has seriously gone off the rails. After the first year, it will be like Obama never was President. That is, except for the 10 trillion of generational theft in which Obama was the guilty crook. Your world is about to completely implode and there is not a damn thing you can do about it. I laugh at libs like you. It gives me an incredible feeling of satisfaction when I see people like you cry like a baby. Your only response is to be on the outside looking in and just resort to name calling like a child. You proved all of this in your childish post.

      1. 8 years. *laughing*to*myself*

        We’ll see what Trump can actually do, rather than merely say. Meanwhile, don’t jump into expectations that people are either Republican or Democrat. As I too frequently point out, I have no use for either party. They’re both decrepit, corrupt, puppeted, worthless, UNrepresentative of We The People. Where Trump has the most value, IMHO, is in his insistence at NOT being a contemporary Republican.

        Now run along and go rant at the actual ‘libs’ and babies. I prefer thoughtful conversations.

      2. Right. The Repubskies are going to turn everything upside down. Already we’re getting promises of universal healthcare (everyone will have big, beautiful insurance), and you can bet the Repubskies are going to sell the internet to the highest bidder, just like they will sell our public lands and everything they can profit from.

        1. Exxon has been quietly looking at Yellowstone and Lassen as potential geothermal energy plants. Yes, like other megacorps they are predictably waiting in the wings in case Trump privatises Federal resources, including National Parks. At first the thought of closing the parks to visitors and erecting giant structures there seems horrifying. But then one recalls the building of massive Boulder Dam at the Grand Canyon, and all the other Depression-era infrastructure development that put America back to work. At two generations remove, those projects don’t horrify anyone any more (except for certain Native American tribes).

          Nuclear energy is also making a comeback, with new fail-safe technologies and AI control protocols. This form of energy generation could become very lucrative with expected Federal land grants and subsidies, and a proposed new bureau of federal wasteland management for disposal of radioactive waste, protected from terrorists by a repurposed National Guard.

          Such partnerships between government and industry are hardly unthinkable. Throughout history they are the norm. That doesn’t make them good or moral, but it doesn’t make them evil or immoral either (except to certain indigenous peoples).

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