President Obama released a statement today detailing his support for Net Neutrality, the unspoken “social contract” of the internet that reinforces the demand for equal access to sites without discrimination by service providers.
In his statement (which opened with a buffering signal), Obama asserted the importance of net neutrality, and its role in preserving the vitality of the web as we know it:
“There are no gate keepers deciding which sites you get to access, there are no toll roads on the information superhighway.
This set of principles- the idea of net neutrality – has unleashed the power of the internet and given innovators the chance to thrive…
Abandoning these principles would threaten to end the internet as we know it….And that’s why I’m urging the Federal Communications Commission to do everything they can to protect neutrality for everyone.”
The president also acknowledged that while net neutrality isn’t his decision to make, the public has spoken before, and would most likely back him up on the issue:
“The FCC is an independent Agency, and ultimately this decision is theirs alone, but the public has commented nearly 4 million times asking the FCC to make sure that consumers, not the cable companies gets to decide which sites they use….Americans are making their voices heard, and standing up for the principles that make the internet a powerful force for change.
As long as I’m president, that’s what I’ll be fighting for too.”
Obama’s proposal, short and sweet, can be narrowed down by what he says at 1:05
“To put these protections in place, I’m asking the FCC to reclassify internet service under Title II of a law known as the Telecommunications Act…In plain English, I’m asking [the FCC] to recognize that for most Americans, the internet has become an essential part of everyday communication and everyday life.”
What would this mean for consumers and providers?
By labeling Internet service as a utility, providers wouldn’t be able to restrict or decide on how internet service is used- it would merely provide the service and allow consumers to do what they want without restriction. If these stipulations of usage sounds familiar, It’s because the internet as we have known it has ran by this system since it was declassified as a military infrastructure and made a public resource.
“Net Neutrality” is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government.
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) November 10, 2014
While the online community seems to be in an uproar for and against Obama’s proposal don’t expect to see internet service providers jumping for joy over this. Obama’s proposal would mean that they effectively lose some control over what they sell, and that they wouldn’t be allowed to favor certain services to deepen their pockets, such as by providing priority bandwidth allocation to companies that pay them to do so. Instead, providers would be forced to continue allowing consumers to use the internet as they wish, utilizing whatever services (streaming, uploading, etc.) they like without any penalty- only this time it would be mandatory.
What do you think about Obama’s proposal? Do you see any complications that could arise in the future, should congress and the FCC move to allow it?
Let us know in the comments!