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This article was published on March 3, 2015

The internet can’t exist without a referee, FCC Chairman says

The internet can’t exist without a referee, FCC Chairman says
Amanda Connolly
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Amanda Connolly

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Amanda Connolly is a reporter for The Next Web, currently based in London. Originally from Ireland, Amanda previously worked in press and ed Amanda Connolly is a reporter for The Next Web, currently based in London. Originally from Ireland, Amanda previously worked in press and editorial at the Web Summit. She’s interested in all things tech, with a particular fondness for lifestyle and creative tech and the spaces where these intersect. Twitter

After voting in favor of regulating broadband services as a public utility, Tom Wheeler, Chairman at the Federal Communications Commission says that as the most powerful and pervasive platform on the planet, the internet “cannot exist without a referee.”

Speaking about his first year in office, Wheeler said “Obama and I are long time supporters of net neutrality, it has been an ongoing process that culminated last Thursday.” The vote last Thursday was a narrow win in favour of Wheeler’s net neutrality guidelines which he says are built on the regulatory model that has been widely successful in the US for mobile since 1993.

His statements today could be seen as an attempt to convince global regulators and telecom operators that the open-door internet rules will not disrupt how the Web works.

We do not regulate the internet. That’s not what we do. We remain steadfast.

Reflecting on his first year as the chairman, Wheeler said that there were four key things focused on:

How do you unleash the power of broadband? How do we make sure there is adequate spectrum? What’s the competition like? And national security and public safety.

Wheeler has been criticized in the past about possibly taking a more prominent stance on net neutrality only after Obama had come out in favor of the regulations. Over four million comments were  sent to the FCC before last week’s vote as campaigners were concerned that service providers may try to control what could be viewed online.

The result of the vote is a milestone in terms of the future of regulation on the Web and how that affects the internet as we know it is yet to be seen.