During a public hearing last week, broadcast on the FCC's website, chairman Tom Wheeler struck a jockeying tone, coming close to, but short of, mocking cable companies and the disparity between their marketing materials and the service they actually provide, as the chairman summarized his case for enacting new standards for the definition of broadband Internet access. At the end of the hearing, Wheeler and the FCC redefined the term "broadband" in order to put pressure on companies to strengthen the infrastructure of the Internet. (You can read Wheeler's more formal comments on the move here.)
According to a report yesterday (Feb. 2) from the New York Times, Wheeler is widely expected to take a similarly populist stance when it comes time for his agency to reveal its plan for preserving the "open internet." The FCC is expected to classify high-speed Internet access as a utility, under the obtusely named Title II designation. The move would make high-speed Internet access subject to regulation as a "common carrier," where everyone -- business and customer alike -- is treated agnostically by the businesses serving them.
(If you're still confused as to what the hell "open Internet" or "net neutrality" means, read our handy analogies here.)
The reclassification of high-speed Internet was supported by President Obama back in November, a move that many think pushed Wheeler strongly in the direction of Title II reclassification.
According to the Times, Wheeler's proposal will "advocate a light-touch approach," leaving pricing considerations to access providers. Wheeler is also said to be considering bringing wireless data access under similar oversight.