At CES, FCC’s Wheeler hints at Title II net neutrality decision

The Federal Communications Commission will vote on an official proposal for net neutrality come February 26, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said on Wednesday during a session at this year’s CES, the Verge reported. Wheeler said that his office plans on showing commissioners a proposal on February 5, which will be followed by the vote to come later on in the month.

Wheeler was apparently mum on the details as to what his office plans to propose, although he indicated that the FCC is looking to accommodate both sides of the net-neutrality debate, according to the report.

The FCC will not be caving in to all of the internet service providers’ (ISP) demands, Wheeler said, but some cases, “There are instances where priority makes a whole heck of a lot of sense.”

“You have to wait until February to see the specifics,” Wheeler said.

As Gigaom’s Jeff John Roberts reported this week, Democrats and consumer advocates are not keen on the deals cut by internet service providers (ISP) and some websites that result in internet fast lanes, i.e. speedier data delivery for those websites high on the ISP’s priority list. Republicans and telecoms, however, support these type of deals and say that business innovation could be stifled if rules were set up to govern those actions.

In November, President Obama urged the FCC to invoke Title II rules from the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which would essentially reclassify the providers as public utilities and would require that they treat all websites the same.

While Wheeler didn’t explicitly state that he supports Title II, the Washington Post reported that during the CES session, Wheeler appeared to be “leaning hard toward the most aggressive proposal on the table.”

The Post cited several policy analysts who read Wheeler’s remarks as indicating he will side with Obama and urge the FCC to treat ISPs like telephone companies.