President Barack Obama has asked the Federal Communications Commission to take up the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality, the principle that says Internet service providers should treat all internet traffic equally. A University of Wisconsin telecommunications professor says the industry is unlikely to be enthusiastic.
“The two biggest arguments against it are coming from AT&T and Comcast,” Professor Barry Orton said. “The industry is saying ‘don’t regulate us heavily.'”
Orton said the industry will push for looser regulations, and even if the FCC does adopt something close to what the White House is calling for, Internet service providers will seek relief in the courts and in Congress, where Republican majorities are likely to be supportive. “It’s a full employment act for telecommunications lawyers in Washington.”
“Those of us who like entertainment, like to watch sports, like to watch movies, will pay. The only question is how much and who gets the benefit of that money,” Orton said. He noted that the FCC, as an independent regulatory agency, need only give the White House proposals the same consideration as any other public comments on the issue.