The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Protesters descend on FCC chairman’s house over net neutrality

(Popular Resistance)

President Obama made big waves this morning when he called on the Federal Communications Commission to implement the strongest rules possible for ensuring net neutrality. The question now is whether FCC chairman Tom Wheeler will heed his boss' advice.

To hammer the point home, Internet activists descended on Wheeler's house Monday morning as he was trying to back out of his driveway. The 6-foot-4 chairman drives a Mini Cooper (!), but even that nimble vehicle wouldn't have been able to get around the human blockade.

The protesters demanded that Wheeler "reclassify" broadband providers under Title II of the Communications Act — a move that'd allow the FCC to regulate the behavior of ISPs more closely. At first, Wheeler responded by repeating what he'd previously said in public: That "everything is on the table" when it comes to net neutrality, including Title II.

But the protesters refused to leave, prompting a visibly exasperated Wheeler to complain that they were "blocking my driveway and prohibiting my rights."

"I think you've all made your point — can I get out of my driveway now?" he said. Both Wheeler and the protesters appeared to be recording the incident.

"[The problem] just goes away once you reclassify," one protester said, off-camera. "It's just gone."

While that's not strictly true — broadband providers have vowed to sue the FCC if it resorts to Title II — the confrontation was quickly eclipsed Monday by Obama's announcement that he, too, favors reclassification.

An FCC spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A video of the confrontation, posted by the consumer group Popular Resistance, follows below.