via c|net
Marguerite Reardon

In his last speech as chairman of the FCC, Tom Wheeler defends his controversial open internet rules that prohibit broadband providers from favoring their own services at the expense of their competitors.

Don’t mess with net neutrality. That was the message from departing FCC chairman Tom Wheeler Friday in his last speech as head of the agency.

Wheeler warned the incoming Republican administration against a hasty repeal of the controversial open internet rules. He said getting rid of the rules and taking a “hands-off approach” to regulating broadband and wireless networks would be a mistake and a move backward. He added that changing the rules would threaten innovation.

“The open internet is currently the law of the land,” he said. “Tampering with the rules means taking away protections consumers and the online world enjoy today.”

Net neutrality is the principle that all traffic on the Internet should be treated equally. Whether you’re checking Facebook, posting pictures to Instagram, shopping on Amazon, streaming Netflix movies or watching cat videos on YouTube, all the information traveling across the Internet to you and from you should be treated the same. This means that your Internet service provider — whether that’s a broadband company like Comcast or a wireless carrier like AT&T or Verizon — can’t block or slow down your access to that content. And it means that these companies shouldn’t favor their own content and services over their competitors’ offerings.

Article Continues