In the midst of the gonzo traffic of back-flipping mini-drones, driverless cars and football fields of mobile internet fueled innovation at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week—FCC chairman Tom Wheeler sounded downright presidential.
While typically a compliment, in this instance it sparked cause for concern. For months, chairman Wheeler has led a thoughtful and informed debate on the thorny issue of network neutrality, carving a careful path down the center by making clear that to foster innovation, openness, and competition, regulation must be the last resort.
All that appeared to fly out the window like one of Hunter S. Thompson’s cigarette butts when Wheeler took the stage in Vegas, declaring his new-found fervor for what some call the nuclear option: Title II regulation of the Internet. (If you are fortunate enough not to be too deeply mired in the details of this debate, Title II refers to the rules congress drafted decades ago to govern rotary phones.)
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