The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission said Friday that he and President Obama agree on the importance of protecting net neutrality.
"My position is unchanged," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said at a press conference. "The president and I agree—and have always agreed—on the importance of an open Internet."
But net-neutrality advocates responded that as long as Wheeler supports allowing large companies to pay for special "fast lanes" on the Internet, he and the president are miles apart.
Obama has supported net neutrality since he first ran for president in 2008, and he emphasized his opposition last week to any pay-for-priority Internet traffic deals.
Marvin Ammori, a consultant for tech companies and one of the leading net-neutrality advocates, said Wheeler's "legal proposal has the support of AT&T and Comcast, not Obama or the American public."
"He needs to propose a final rule that will actually ban tolls, discrimination, and paid prioritization. Rhetoric is not enough," Ammori said.
The goal of net neutrality is to ensure that Internet service providers like Comcast can't abuse their gatekeeper power to distort the Internet for their own purposes.
In May, Wheeler proposed net-neutrality rules that would prohibit broadband providers from blocking websites. But they would be allowed to charge websites for faster service as long as the agreements are "commercially reasonable."