FCC Chief ‘Confident’ Net Neutrality Rules Will Stand

September 9, 2015  - By

Wheeler Also Discusses Spectrum Incentive Auction on CTIA Stage

LA Times writer Jon Healey interviews the FCC's Tom Wheeler in a fireside chat at CTIA.

LA Times writer Jon Healey interviews the FCC’s Tom Wheeler in a fireside chat at CTIA.

As one of Super Mobility 2015’s first speakers, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler reaffirmed his support for the net neutrality rules that CTIA-The Wireless Association, the event’s host, has been fighting in court.

Wheeler harkened back to his speech to this same audience last year where he received a “less than thunderous response” to his suggestion that broadband should be classified as a public utility. Previously, the FCC had treated broadband as an information service separate from the telephone network.

“If you have that kind of a role in delivery of Internet, then you ought to be governed under a similar set of rules that apply to everyone and not have a wireless exception,” Wheeler said.

Net neutrality rules enacted by the FCC early this year prohibit mobile broadband providers from throttling Internet content and utilizing paid prioritization. CTIA filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., this summer in conjunction with other industry associations, opposing the regulation saying it could have “devastating impact on Americans and the U.S. economy.”

“Imposing Title II on wireless would be a gross overreaction that would interrupt the world’s best wireless industry and interfere with the significant innovations and competition consumers enjoy today.”

Wheeler disagreed on stage during a fireside chat with Los Angeles Times editorial writer Jon Healey. He pointed out the “tens of billions of dollars” the wireless industry has invested.

“I’m very bullish on the continued growth of this industry and the continued protection of consumers and how they use the net,” he said.

Wheeler said he was also “supremely confident” that the incentive auction for 600MHz of broadcast TV spectrum, scheduled to start March 29, 2016, would go off without a hitch and that broadcasters would be there and would agree to sell their spectrum rights. Don’t believe him? Take it from James Murdoch, new CEO of News Corp., he said.

“I told him I was going to be talking to you today, and I said, ‘Can I tell him you’re going to show up?’ and he said, ‘Yup,’” Wheeler explained to Healey. “We had a fascinating discussion about how the broadcast business has changed. The most interesting part of my conversation with…Murdoch was talking about innovation and need to be continually innovative. The broadcast auction offers incredible opportunities for broadcasters to get a pot of money to innovate with without losing the business model they’ve been successful with.”

This article is tagged with , , , , , , and posted in Latest News

About the Author: Bethany Chambers

Bethany Chambers has been a digital editor for GPS World since 2012. She also serves as digital operations manager for GPS World parent company North Coast Media. Chambers is a multimedia journalist with expertise in the business and healthcare fields who has won awards from the National Press Club and the Knight-Mozilla News Technology Partnership. She has a masters in interactive publishing from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and a bachelors in marketing from Duquesne University.