Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, announced today that his office will vote on the future of net neutrality next month. During a public interview at the Computer Electronics Showcase in Las Vegas, Wheeler told CEA president Gary Shapiro that he would submit the final language for his proposed policy February 5 and conduct the vote on February 26.
The vote will end the surprisingly heated policy debate that has engulfed Washington, as mainstream advocates embraced an issue previously confined to bureaucrats and industry insiders. President Obama has come out strongly in favor of net neutrality, outlining a policy that would effectively classify the Internet as a public utility and thereby prohibit tiering and gatekeeping behaviors.
Wheeler, in contrast, has been more inclined to take a compromise approach that would placate infrastructure technology companies like Cisco and IBM, according to The Washington Post. Last month nearly 60 major Internet infrastructure companies sent a letter to the FCC and to Congressional leaders arguing that reclassifying broadband as a utility would threaten their ability to build and deploy “ever more capable and faster networks.”
[via The Verge]