While Democrats and Web companies such as Netflix Inc. reacted favorably, broadband Internet service providers and members of the congressional Republican majority said the chairman, Tom Wheeler, had gone too far at the behest of President Barack Obama.
The proposal is a “power grab” by an FCC chairman who “succumbed to the bully tactics of political activists and the president himself,” Senator John Thune, the South Dakota Republican who is chairman of the Commerce Committee that oversees the FCC, said in an e-mailed statement. Thune has offered open-Internet legislation that Democratic lawmakers say doesn’t go far enough.
Wheeler, in an article published Wednesday on Wired.com, said he would recommend to the commission rules to bar broadband providers from blocking or slowing Web traffic. The rules would use legal authority set in the last century for telephone networks, and for the first time would apply open-Internet protections to the mobile services that feed smartphones, he said. The rules wouldn’t include price regulation, Wheeler said.
“The Internet must be fast, fair and open,” Wheeler wrote. “That is the principle that has enabled the Internet to become an unprecedented platform for innovation and human expression.”