FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler may be a Democrat like Barack Obama, but political ties won’t keep him from considering a flat-out rejection of the President’s position on net neutrality.
Hours after the President urged the Federal Communications Commission to declare the Internet as a utility, Wheeler told representatives from Google, Yahoo and other giants of the Web that he wouldn’t simply go along with it.
“I am an independent agency,” he reportedly said repeatedly, the Washington Post reports.
The White House has fallen firmly on the side of net neutrality ever since an FCC document leaked this spring indicated the FCC was considering allowing ISPs like AT&T and Verizon to continue offering preferential treatment to some Internet users over others.
Both Democrats, Wheeler and Obama have been longtime allies. Before Obama was elected, Wheeler raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote his campaign. Now, however, the FCC’s Democratic member majority may do little to sway it toward the White House’s stance. For now, Wheeler is hoping to placate everyone—Internet users and ISPs alike.
“What you want is what everyone wants: an open Internet that doesn’t affect your business,” Wheeler told officials from major Web companies, according to the Post. “What I’ve got to figure out is how to split the baby.”
Lead image by Flickr user tlsmith1000, CC 2.0