FCC head defends 'net neutrality' decision amid criticism from industry, politicians

Industries Associated Press

The head of the Federal Communications Commission is taking the defense of new Internet regulations on the road.

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FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said Tuesday that "there needs to be a referee" for the Internet. He's a keynote speaker at the Mobile World Congress wireless show in Barcelona, Spain.

The FCC's vote last week approved "net neutrality" rules that prevent Internet providers such as Comcast and Verizon from slowing or blocking Web traffic or from creating Internet fast lanes that content providers must pay for.

Verizon says the FCC turned to a 1934 law to regulate the Internet. AT&T says the rules politicize the Internet.

Wheeler says the rules won't hurt network operators' "revenue streams" from consumer services and that the agency "modernized" the old law, leaving out many parts.