Obama backs Net Neutrality, asks FCC to make the Internet a public utility

We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas. That is why today, I am asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to answer the call of almost 4 million public comments, and implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality.

— President Obama


President Obama came out in support of Net Neutrality today and asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to treat the Internet as a public utility and to implement “the strongest possible rules” to keep it free and open.

in a statement released through whitehouse.gov, Obama called Net Neutrality — the argument that Internet service providers should treat all data equally — “common sense” and outlined four key rules requests for consideration by the independent FCC:

  1. No blocking. If a consumer requests access to a website or service, and the content is legal, your ISP should not be permitted to block it. That way, every player — not just those commercially affiliated with an ISP — gets a fair shot at your business.
  2. No throttling. Nor should ISPs be able to intentionally slow down some content or speed up others — through a process often called “throttling” — based on the type of service or your ISP’s preferences.
  3. Increased transparency. The connection between consumers and ISPs — the so-called “last mile” — is not the only place some sites might get special treatment. So, I am also asking the FCC to make full use of the transparency authorities the court recently upheld and, if necessary, to apply net neutrality rules to points of interconnection between the ISP and the rest of the Internet.
  4. No paid prioritization. Simply put: No service should be stuck in a “slow lane” because it does not pay a fee. That kind of gatekeeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth. So, as I have [said] before, I am asking for an explicit ban on paid prioritization and any other restriction that has a similar effect.

Technically, President Obama included a fifth request, which is to make the rules above fully applicable to mobile broadband as well.

The president wrote that his proposed rules should not overly burden ISPs and simply and clearly stated that the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband as a public utility. The president views broadband as being equal in importance to today’s connectivity to the world for citizens as a telephone, which has the same access in and out of consumers’ homes as the Internet.

Read about and WATCH VIDEO of the panel discussion on Net Neutrality from New Economy New Rules this summer. Our featured panelists for this discussion sponsored by Barnes & Thornburgand LightBound included:

  • Bret Swanson, President, Entropy Economics
  • Darby McCarty, President, Smithville Communications
  • and Barry Umansky, Telecommunications Professor, Ball State University (and formerly with both the Federal Communications Commission and the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington).

What do you think about the president’s announcement?

Do you agree with his key rules requests to the FCC?

What rules would you propose to keep the Internet open and free?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Joshua Hall is editor of techpoint.org. He writes about Indiana tech companies, jobs, people & events. @joshua2349