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Former FCC chair defends net neutrality rules

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, fresh off what he called "intensive margarita therapy" in Cabo, spoke at a telecom conference in Boulder on Monday to defend the net neutrality and privacy rules the FCC adopted when he was in charge.

  • He said that networks "must be truly open, not just regulatory doublespeak saying 'I've got net neutrality here but it's an empty basket'" and that they "must have a default of privacy."
  • And he offered a warning to his successor, Republican Ajit Pai. "Whether [Web] 3.0 is realized is going to depend on the behavior of the largely uncompetitive networks run by fewer than six companies," he said. "And if the Trump FCC allows further consolidation that story only becomes worse."

The bigger picture: There's a battle coming over Wheeler's net neutrality rules — adopted by a 2015 party-line vote. Pai doesn't agree with a key legal foundation for the rules. Progressive groups and their allies in Congress have promised to put up a fight if Pai looks to dismantle the regulations.

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