With liberty and internet for all! Obama weighs in on one of the most important decisions regarding the future of the internet.
President Barack Obama has issued a new request to the Federal Communications Commission to reclassify broadband wired Internet service in the US as a public utility is an attempt to regulate Internet service providers under net neutrality principles. Net neutrality is the concept taht all content and services on the internet should receive equal treatment online. Without Net Neutrality, ISPs would be able to block content, reject apps, and prioritize web traffic.
According to Vox, under current law, communications services fall into two categories: The first is the “information services” category meant for online services such as Facebook and Netflix, which the law sharply restricts the FCC’s ability to regulate services in this category. The second category, “telecommunications services,” is designed for public utilities such as traditional phone service. The FCC has broad powers to regulate services in this second category.
The White House released a statement made by the president on their website:
“When I was a candidate for this office, I made clear my commitment to a free and open Internet, and my commitment remains as strong as ever. Four years ago, the FCC tried to implement rules that would protect net neutrality with little to no impact on the telecommunications companies that make important investments in our economy. After the rules were challenged, the court reviewing the rules agreed with the FCC that net neutrality was essential for preserving an environment that encourages new investment in the network, new online services and content, and everything else that makes up the Internet as we now know it…..So the time has come for the FCC to recognize that broadband service is of the same importance and must carry the same obligations as so many of the other vital services do. To do that, I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act — while at the same time forbearing from rate regulation and other provisions less relevant to broadband services. This is a basic acknowledgment of the services ISPs provide to American homes and businesses, and the straightforward obligations necessary to ensure the network works for everyone — not just one or two companies.”
To order for these new regulations to be enacted, the president requires the support of two other FCC commissioners. His message was directed towards those members and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who will make a final decision regarding net neutrality rule before the end of the year.
Criticism: “Obamacare for the Internet”
Republican Ted Cruz made a comment on the president’s advocacy, calling the concept net neutrality to Obama’s healthcare reform, which has been a subject of public scrutiny.
Opinions on Net Neutrality
Many organizations and websites have expressed their support and expressed desire for net neutrality to bring a fair playing field for all internet users. However, the net neutrality act places prices and terms of service in government hands which people on both sides of the fence might not find to be favorable. There’s also that fact that advocacy from the president in no way guarantees a net neutrality laws passing.
What Do You Think?…
Would net neutrality help or hurt the internet and its content? Why do you think it has taken so long for any laws to be passed on the issue?