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The latest bulletin in the net neutrality wars comes in the form of widely circulated story on Wired with the breathless title “FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler: This Is How We Will Ensure Net Neutrality.” One-man rule is not in the cards at the FCC, but it seems highly likely that the three-member Democratic majority on the FCC will support this rule, virtually verbatim, regardless of what the two Republican members say or think. The point in this case seems exceptionally clear in light of the major intervention of President Obama and his youthful White House team, who are plumping for the strongest possible forms of net neutrality protection — a gambit which, according to a Wall Street Journal story, was explicitly designed to force Wheeler’s hand.
In dealing with this issue, it is useful to track the arguments that Mr. Wheeler made in his Wired essay, which show something of the confused state of the intellectual debate over the topic. As is often in these cases, Wheeler begins with a story of the bad old FCC during the 1950s and 1960s when he writes: