Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler is getting blunt about why we don't have net neutrality rules yet: "The big dogs are going to sue regardless of what comes out," he said today, according to Reuters. Internet providers are pretty staunchly against the type of heavy regulations that net neutrality advocates want to see, and it's expected that they'll oppose any light regulations too, simply because it would restrict them from doing various things with their businesses, like giving certain websites and apps preferential treatment. The commission has reason to fear a lawsuit, too. The reason that we don't have net neutrality rules right now is because Verizon sued over the last set of rules and won in court earlier this year.
"We need to make sure that we have sustainable rules."
"We need to make sure that we have sustainable rules," Wheeler reportedly said, "and that starts with making sure that we have addressed the multiplicity of issues that come along and are likely to be raised."
Wheeler has been saying much of the same thing for a few weeks now. After President Obama came out in favor of using Title II — a stricter form of regulation — to protect net neutrality, Wheeler responded by saying that it raised "substantive legal questions." As such, he said, the commission needs more time to determine what the right approach is so that its ultimate decision "can withstand any legal challenges it may face." While that's a similar statement to what Wheeler is saying today, it's far more polite. Wheeler is now making it clear that the commission is operating on the assumption that one internet provider or another is going to sue, so it had better get it right. Now net neutrality advocates just have to hope that getting it right doesn't also mean making sacrifices to appease big business. The new rules should arrive next year.