Obama: Broadband Should Be Treated As A Utility
President Obama has released a statement today calling for the FCC to begin treating broadband internet service as a utility under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, ensuring that Net Neutrality will remain protected and an integral part of the internet.
‘Net neutrality has been built into the fabric of the Internet since its creation–but it is also a principle that we cannot take for granted,” reads a statement from President Obama. “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.”
The President hopes that with broadband being treated as a utility under Title II, large corporations, advertisers, and ISPs will be barred from forming monetary deals that essentially gift unfair advantages.
A major reason why President Obama is addressing this issue now is because of the recent court rulings that struck down the FCC implementing rules that will protect Net Neutrality while making zero impact on telecommunications companies. The rulings have given ISPs the go ahead on creating systems wherein certain sites will gain the priority. Obama noted that the reason for this ruling is because the FCC took the wrong approach.
“Unfortunately, the court ultimately struck down the rules not because it disagreed with the need to protect net neutrality, but because it beleived the FCC had taken the wrong legal approach,” Obama writes.
President Obama underlines four ways to uphold Net Neutrality through reclassification. First up is removing the ability for ISPs to block sites, allowing anyone to access legal content. Secondly, ISPs need to be barred from “throttling”- a process of intentionally slowing down certain content. Third, there needs to be more transparency in the way ISPs treat intermediary services such as Netflix. Lastly, banning “slow lanes”- slowing down certain sites/content because they haven’t paid fees to ISPs.
FCC will ultimately decide on how to deal with Net Neutrality as it is an independent government agency. However, as mentioned by Ars Technica, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler was appointed by Obama, and has also taken a similar stance in dealing with Net Neutrality by proposing the same Title II regulations.