In the wake of a ruling stripping America's Federal Communications Commission of much of its net neutrality enforcement power, its chairman Tom Wheeler suggested that the watchdog will find other ways to maintain open access.
Speaking at a Washington DC gathering of the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, Wheeler said that the commission will seek other means of safeguarding net neutrality.
"The court invited the Commission to Act, and I intend to accept that invitation," Wheeler said.
"Using our authority, we will re-address the concepts in the Open Internet Order as the court invited to encourage growth and innovation and enforce against abuse."
The statements come days after a US court of appeals struck down the FCC's ability to enforce its mandates on net neutrality. The commission has sought to prevent telcos and ISPs from creating a two-speed internet, where websites pay to get preferential treatment on a network and subscribers are charged extra to avoid a degraded service.
Verizon successfully challenged the commission's authority on the matter in court: a judge ruled that 'Zon and other telcos could not be regulated as the FCC has intended. Following the decision, the FCC left the door open for an appeal.
While the US watchdog has not pushed for sweeping legislation, Wheeler said he intends to maintain an "open" internet. While many network service providers have aligned with the FCC and its open vision, recent moves from carriers such as AT&T have caused some to ask whether net neutrality was seeing its first real challenges.
Now, it appears the FCC is intending to make good on its promise to maintain such a structure, even without a mandate from the courts. He vowed to maintain a structure of network regulations which would help to prevent the need for more sweeping antitrust regulations down the line.
"The reason broadcast ownership [regulation] was important in the past was because it gave access to a highly-controlled medium," Wheeler told attendees.
"We will not let that kind of control take over the internet, period." ®