President Obama this week caused quite a stir when he came out in favor of a bold plan to protect net neutrality that would involve reclassifying ISPs as common carriers. Unfortunately for net neutrality advocates, Obama doesn’t get the final say when it comes to this issue. Instead, that honor goes to the Federal Communications Commission, which is headed by a former cable lobbyist that Obama decided to appoint as chairman last year.
The Washington Post brings us word that Obama’s newly unveiled net neutrality plan isn’t going to change what the FCC does one bit and that the commission might just go through with its plan to allow ISPs to charge more money to companies to make sure their traffic gets delivered faster no matter what.
“Huddled in an FCC conference room Monday with officials from major Web companies, including Google, Yahoo and Etsy, agency Chairman Tom Wheeler said he preferred a more nuanced solution,” the Post reports. “His approach would deliver some of what Obama wants but also would address the concerns of the companies that provide Internet access to millions of Americans, such as Comcast, Time Warner Cable and AT&T.”
Wheeler also reportedly told these tech companies that he’s trying to figure out the best way to “split the baby,” although that can’t be too comforting when the baby being split is the open Internet. The FCC is an independent agency, however, and it’s under no obligation to listen to the president, congressmen or anyone else in the government. No matter what anyone wants, the FCC might still give us Internet “fast lanes.”