The FCC Won’t Let Them Be! Wheeler And Company Reject Telecom Petitions To Delay Net Neutrality Rules

Late last week, we reported on the lack of sympathy FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has for Internet Service Providers (ISPs). While ISPs complain about how net neutrality -- and especially Title II classification -- could stifle innovation and hurt competition, Wheeler's response was a simple: "You don't have a lot of competition."

Not that we'd expect it to, but nothing has changed with either Wheeler's or the FCC's stance since those comments were made. On Friday, the agency responded to a May 1 request by ISPs and related groups to delay the roll out of these major changes -- and sticking to its guns, the agency denied it.

Tom Wheeler
Flickr: The Cable Show

It's not so much the basic premise of net neutrality that's proven a problem for ISPs; instead, it's the Title II classification that scares them. Hinged to Title II classification means that the FCC would be able to enforce certain consumer protections, which for ISPs might be bad for business, but ensures things are fair for the consumer.

Interestingly, there seem to be two specific requirements that Title II would enforce that these ISPs simply can't imagine working around. In talking to Computerworld, Harold Feld, Senior VP for Public Knowledge, says "The argument of the cable and telephone companies hinged on the argument that respecting user privacy and requiring disability access -- as required under Title II -- would be too great a burden."

While it's certain at this point that Title II classification is going to proceed, there are still a handful of ongoing lawsuits that could work to the favor of the ISPs and groups that filed them. It's likely to take some time before the results of those rise to the surface.