FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and former FCC Chairman Michael Powell at a recent cable industry event.

NCTA

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler defended his network neutrality plan at length in front of the House committee that oversees the FCC today, and he also briefly discussed the proposed Comcast/Time Warner Cable and AT&T/DirecTV mergers.

Democratic representatives on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on communications and technology urged Wheeler to draft a stronger network neutrality proposal that bans Internet “fast lanes” in which ISPs charge content providers for priority access to consumers. For example, a video provider like Netflix or Amazon could pay an ISP like Comcast or AT&T for faster access to consumers than services that don’t pay the fees would receive.
Wheeler at one point today said he believes paid prioritization is commercially unreasonable. (The FCC proposal “would prohibit as commercially unreasonable those broadband providers’ practices that… threaten to harm Internet openness.”)
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