FCC head Tom Wheeler backs net neutrality revealing planned web protections

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced his intention to create “the strongest open internet protections ever”, a stance also backed by US president Obama.

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler

FCC head Tom Wheeler today (Wednesday 4 February) announced in a Wired editorial that the internet “must be fast, fair and open” stating that the regulator will use its Title II authority granted by the Communications Act to implement and enforce open internet protections.

Wheeler's telecommunications draft will ban “paid prioritisation” resulting in web fastlanes and restrict the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services.

He said: “My proposal assures the rights of internet users to go where they want, when they want, and the rights of innovators to introduce new products without asking anyone’s permission.

“The internet must be fast, fair and open. That is the message I’ve heard from consumers and innovators across this nation. That is the principle that has enabled the internet to become an unprecedented platform for innovation and human expression. And that is the lesson I learned heading a tech startup at the dawn of the internet age."

Wheeler added: “The proposal I present to the commission will ensure the internet remains open, now and in the future, for all Americans.”

The announcement comes after Wheeler admitted in December that rules categorising the web as a utility could take a while to implement as the FCC expects a number of lawsuits from ISPs who were broadly against the utility classification for the web.

On Thursday, Wheeler is expected to release a draft of the legislation to other FCC commissioners, with a final decision to be made on 26 February.

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