Former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton today came out in support of the FCC's proposal to reclassify broadband as a utility — the cornerstone of its plan to put stronger net neutrality rules into effect. In a conversation today with Kara Swisher from Recode, Clinton said she agreed with classifying internet service providers as common carriers under Title II of the Telecommunications Act but also pointed out that there was more that could be done.
"I think that for the FCC to do what they want to do — to try to create net neutrality as the norm — they have to have a hook to hang it on," Clinton said to Swisher. "So, they're hanging it on Title II." When asked whether she agreed with that "hook," Clinton replied that "it's the only one the've got." She went on to say that "I think that if there were another hook, it would come out of a modern 21st century telecom act. And that hasn't happened, and it's not likely to happen."
Regardless of Clinton's desire for a more comprehensive and modern telecommunications act that better accounts for the internet, she still said she'd vote for the FCC's current proposal. "As I understand it, it's Title II with a lot of changes in it to avoid the worst of Title II regulation," Clinton said. "It's a foot in the door ... but it's not the end of the discussion."
Specifically, Clinton wants to see changes enacted around incentivizing competition, something that's sorely lacking in the broadband market right now; more broadly, she hopes to see internet connectivity treated more as an infrastructure problem. "It's not just net neutrality standing alone, end of debate," Clinton said. "And that should be part of a really smart legislative endeavor, but I don't think people believe that could happen in the short term."
The FCC is set to vote on chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal this Thursday, February 26th.
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