Skip Navigation

Federal Communications Commission

English Display Options

Commission Document

Chairman Statement on Broadband Consumers and Internet Congestion

Download Options

Released: June 13, 2014
image01-00.jpg612x792

NEWS

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th Street, S.W.

Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

Washington, D. C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.

See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:

June 13, 2014

Kim Hart, 202-418-8191

Email: kim.hart@fcc.gov

STATEMENT BY FCC CHAIRMAN TOM WHEELER

ON BROADBAND CONSUMERS AND INTERNET CONGESTION

Washington, D.C. – FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler issued the following statement today:

“For some time now we have been talking about protecting Internet consumers. At the heart of this is

whether Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that provide connectivity in the final mile to the home can

advantage or disadvantage content providers, and therefore advantage or disadvantage consumers.

What we call the Open Internet rule on which we are currently seeking comment is one component of

this. If adopted, the new rule would prohibit bad acts such as blocking content or degrading access to

content. This kind of activity within an ISP’s network has traditionally been the focus of net neutrality.

But there is another area of Internet access, and that is the exchange of traffic between ISPs and other

networks and services. The recent disputes between Netflix and ISPs such as Comcast and Verizon have

highlighted this issue.

“In reading the emails I receive, I thought this one from George pretty well sums up public concern:

Netflix versus Verizon: Is Verizon abusing Net Neutrality and causing Netflix picture

quality to be degraded by “throttling” transmission speeds? Who is at fault here? The

consumer is the one suffering! What can you do?

“We don’t know the answers and we are not suggesting that any company is at fault. But George has gone

to the heart of the matter: what is going on and what can the FCC do on behalf of consumers? Consumers

pay their ISP and they pay content providers like Hulu, Netflix or Amazon. Then when they don’t get

good service they wonder what is going on. I have experienced these problems myself and know how

exasperating it can be.

“Consumers must get what they pay for. As the consumer’s representative we need to know what is going

on. I have therefore directed the Commission staff to obtain the information we need to understand

precisely what is happening in order to understand whether consumers are being harmed.

Recently, at my direction, Commission staff has begun requesting information from ISPs and content

providers. We have received the agreements between Comcast and Netflix and Verizon and Netflix. We

are currently in the process of asking for others.

“To be clear, what we are doing right now is collecting information, not regulating. We are looking under

the hood. Consumers want transparency. They want answers. And so do I.

“The bottom line is that consumers need to understand what is occurring when the Internet service

they’ve paid for does not adequately deliver the content they desire, especially content they’ve also paid

image02-00.jpg612x792

for. In this instance, it is about what happens where the ISP connects to the Internet. It’s important that

we know – and that consumers know.”

- FCC –

News and information about the Federal Communications Commission is available at www.fcc.gov

2

Note: We are currently transitioning our documents into web compatible formats for easier reading. We have done our best to supply this content to you in a presentable form, but there may be some formatting issues while we improve the technology. The original version of the document is available as a PDF, Word Document, or as plain text.

close
FCC

You are leaving the FCC website

You are about to leave the FCC website and visit a third-party, non-governmental website that the FCC does not maintain or control. The FCC does not endorse any product or service, and is not responsible for, nor can it guarantee the validity or timeliness of the content on the page you are about to visit. Additionally, the privacy policies of this third-party page may differ from those of the FCC.