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FCC chairman says agency needs to learn from Google Fiber

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Tom Wheeler says the FCC could learn a thing or two from Google Fiber. In prepared remarks that Wheeler will deliver at a congressional hearing tomorrow, he points to Google's strategic approach to building out its ambitious broadband service as something the commission should take inspiration from. "Google has developed a checklist for cities that want to participate in their Google Fiber project of steps that can be taken to ensure easier access to existing infrastructure and to make construction speedier and more predictable," Wheeler says.

Google revealed that checklist back in February when the company announced it would "explore" bringing Fiber to as many as 34 new cities. It allows communities to help Google survey potential service areas and tap into existing infrastructure (i.e., poles) where it already exists. According to Wheeler, "the FCC should be asking similar questions about our own rules, cutting red tape wherever possible." The commission should "use all the tools at our disposal to encourage competition wherever it is possible."

Last week, the FCC adopted Wheeler's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking as it seeks to craft and implement new regulations that could reshape the internet for years to come. "For over a decade, the commission has struggled with the idea of net neutrality," Wheeler admits in his remarks. And like last week, he again floats the possibility of classifying broadband as a utility under Title II, the preferred outcome many net neutrality advocates are hoping to see. "I look forward to a broad and thoughtful debate on the record."