Pressure Rises on F.C.C. Chairman Over Net Neutrality Rules

Thursday, November 13, 2014 NYT morning report


Even before President Obama issued his forceful call this week for “the strongest possible rules” to protect an open Internet, Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, was in a tight spot, Edward Wyatt reports.

His quandary: trying to shape rules for an open Internet, or net neutrality, that would satisfy the millions of people who wrote the agency in support of strong regulation – and also stand up in court and encourage Internet investment and innovation.

The challenge only grew after Mr. Obama spoke out, adding a more potent political element to the debate. Since those remarks, say people who met with Mr. Wheeler this week, he has been testy, defensive and a bit angry that he might be seen as a political pawn instead of as the head of an independent agency who is exercising his own judgment.

Mr. Wheeler has not yet decided on how to proceed, F.C.C. officials say. But as he tries to thread the needle of politics and public policy to safeguard the openness of the Internet, he must now also face down angry Republicans in Congress and a technology industry, generally supportive of the president, that is wary of any regulations stifling the expansion of the Internet. Read more »

+ Internet companies are far behind cable companies in terms of their political donations, though the gap is slowly closing between the two sidesin a coming debate over Internet regulation.
+ At a media event in San Francisco on Wednesday, Comcast answered questions about President Obama’s recent call for strict net neutrality rules.