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Fcc Chair: An Internet Fast Lane Would Be 'commercially Unreasonable'

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U.S. Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler.

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler told House lawmakers Tuesday the FCC could take action to block the implementation of "paid prioritization" on the Internet.

Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Tom Wheeler on Tuesday told House lawmakers the FCC could take action to block the emergence of Internet fast lanes, or "paid prioritization," noting network equipment manufacturers say fast lanes could weaken service for some Internet users.

Wheeler also said the agency recognizes that Internet service providers would be undermining a "virtuous cycle" between the demand for free-flowing data and new investment in network upgrades if they started charging companies for better access to consumers. "If there is something that interferes with that virtuous cycle--which I believe paid prioritization does--then we can move against it," Wheeler said.

He also responded to comments that network equipment makers say it is impossible to create fast Internet lanes for some users without also leaving other users in slower lanes. "That's at the heart of what you're talking about here," Wheeler said. "That would be commercially unreasonable under our proposal."

Wheeler previously has hinted paid prioritization proposals would be reviewed on a case-by-base basis, but his comments yesterday indicate any such proposals would face significant scrutiny.

From The Washington Post
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