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Should the government regulate the internet like the telephone system?




FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler gives testimony before the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee hearing on 'Review of the President's FY2015 funding request and budget justification for the FCC on March 27, 2014 in Washington.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler gives testimony before the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee hearing on 'Review of the President's FY2015 funding request and budget justification for the FCC on March 27, 2014 in Washington.
KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

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Should broadband internet providers be regulated like the highway system or the electric grid? That's what many supporters of net neutrality want, ever since a federal appeals court struck down in January the Federal Communications Commission's Open Internet rules.

Supporters of the idea, including former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, argue that the internet has replaced traditional phone service as the primary mode of communications in the country, which justifies a FCC reclassification of high-speed internet service as a "common carrier"--a public utility-like entity that should be placed under stricter regulation.

Opponents of the proposal include the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the cable industry's main lobbying group.

At its annual conference in Los Angeles this week, NCTA's chief executive blasted the idea, saying that the best way to ensure growth, innovation, and the spread of broadband access is to leave the industry alone.

Guests:

Craig Aaron, Executive Director and President of Free Press, a nonpartisan organization advocating for universal and affordable internet access and diverse media ownership

Jeffrey Eisenach, Director of the Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy at the American Enterprise Institute