Wheeler said he believed paid prioritization -- allowing Internet service providers to demand content providers pay for faster service, like
"Once the consumer buys access to the Internet, they are buying access to the full Internet," Wheeler told the
"When I buy Internet access, I am buying the full pipe," he said. "I am buying access to everything that's out there."
"If somebody comes along and says, 'Oh no, you can't get this unless you pay more,' that's unreasonable and should be banned. If someone says to a content provider, 'You can't get on unless you pay more,' that's unreasonable."
Advocates for net neutrality have condemned the draft rules, saying that they allow paid prioritization that could lead to ISPs blocking consumer access to content at will. Instead, net neutrality advocates have urged the
"While the details of implementation can change, the general concepts embodied in Title II have stuck around so long because they have proven to be valuable,"
Meanwhile, ISPs say classifying the Internet as a public utility will "put potholes on the Internet" by placing it at the mercy of political whim like "crumbling" roads, bridges or water mains.
"Today's Internet doesn't suffer these kinds of chronic problems because broadband isn't regulated like a public utility," the
At Tuesday's panel, lawmakers squeezed Wheeler from both sides, with Democrats expressing anxiety that the proposed rules would not go far enough to keep the Internet "open, free and accessible," while Republicans said the rules would stifle the environment of innovation.
"The Internet has indeed flourished under the current light-touch regulatory scheme," said full committee Chairman
"Broadband providers have spent billions and billions of dollars and have networked this country," he said. "They're going to provide an open Internet, but they may want to provide it based on volume for a fee."
But Wheeler said it wasn't a simple matter of allowing consumers and content providers to pay for access to enhanced services.
"If you offer fast lanes for some, you're going to degrade service for others," he said. "That's what's at the heart of what we're taking about."
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