President Obama wants the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to preserve net neutrality.
While the FCC is an independent agency, Obama hopes he can sway the commission to reclassify Internet service providers as “telecommunications services,” which would give the government greater powers of regulation. At the moment, Internet service providers fall under the umbrella of “information services,” allowing them considerable leeway to determine how they provide the Internet to end-users.
When the FCC previously tried to regulate Internet service providers, Verizon fought the move in court and won. Following that decision, net neutrality advocates feared that carriers would attempt to establish Internet “fast lanes” in exchange for payment, or restrict content created by rival conglomerates, or throttle back what they viewed as excessive usage. Earlier this year, hundreds of thousands of people submitted comments in favor of net neutrality to the FCC’s website.
Now Obama’s weighed in. “This set of principles, the idea of net neutrality, has unleashed the power of the Internet and given innovators the chance to thrive,” he said in an online video. “Abandoning these principles would threaten to end the Internet as we know it.” His stance will place even greater pressure on the FCC to make a decision, one way or another.
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Video/Image: YouTube/The White House