Obama Takes Firm Stand on Net Neutrality
President Obama has come out swinging on the issue of Net Neutrality, even taking a swing (figuratively) at Tom Wheeler, his own appointee to head the FCC. Tom Wheeler had originally been in favor of Net Neutrality, and later flipflopped in favor of segregating the Internet into a Fast Lane (for those who are willing to pay a little extra) and a Slow Lane for everyone else.
Under the 1996 Telecommunications Act, the FCC has the authority to reclassify Internet Service Providers as utilities, and this is what Obama is urging the FCC to do. If ISPs are classified as utilities, the FCC will be able to enforce Net Neutrality, i.e. the same Internet speed for everyone; no fast or slow lanes. President Obama said:
“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...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.”
Bravo! Net Neutrality is a populist issue — along with increasing the minimum wage and legalizing marijuana — that cuts across party lines. I doubt if there are a whole lot of Internet users — regardless of how conservative they are — who are thinking “Sure, I'd be happy to pay more for Internet access or be relegated to the slow lane, because Freedom.”