December 3, 2020

President Obama Urges FCC to Implement Stronger Net Neutrality Rules

UPDATE: Along with the statement we’re also rounding up reaction to President Obama’s comments from a number of groups. You’ll find it below the embedded video.

From a White House Blog Post:

President Obama today asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take up the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality, the principle that says Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all internet traffic equally.

The President has been a strong and consistent advocate of net neutrality since his first presidential campaign.

Direct to White House Net Neutrality Plan Web Site

Full Text of Obama’s Statement

From the Statement

The FCC is an independent agency, and ultimately this decision is theirs alone. I believe the FCC should create a new set of rules protecting net neutrality and ensuring that neither the cable company nor the phone company will be able to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online. The rules I am asking for are simple, common-sense steps that reflect the Internet you and I use every day, and that some ISPs already observe. These bright-line rules include:

  • No blocking. If a consumer requests access to a website or service, and the content is legal, your ISP should not be permitted to block it. That way, every player — not just those commercially affiliated with an ISP — gets a fair shot at your business.
  • No throttling. Nor should ISPs be able to intentionally slow down some content or speed up others — through a process often called “throttling” — based on the type of service or your ISP’s preferences.
  • Increased transparency. The connection between consumers and ISPs — the so-called “last mile” — is not the only place some sites might get special treatment. So, I am also asking the FCC to make full use of the transparency authorities the court recently upheld, and if necessary to apply net neutrality rules to points of interconnection between the ISP and the rest of the Internet.
  • No paid prioritization. Simply put: No service should be stuck in a “slow lane” because it does not pay a fee. That kind of gatekeeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth. So, as I have before, I am asking for an explicit ban on paid prioritization and any other restriction that has a similar effect.

Reaction and Comment to President’s Statement

“The ALA heartily agrees with the essential elements of network neutrality affirmed by President Obama: no blocking, no throttling, increased transparency, and no paid prioritization,” said ALA Incoming President Sari Feldman. “As the President noted, these elements are ‘built into the fabric of the internet since its creation.’ In fact, the initial protocols for the internet were developed by institutions of higher education, and universities were the first to deploy private high-speed data networks that formed the test-bed for what later became the public internet.

“Since then, our nation’s libraries and institutions of higher education have become leaders in creating, fostering, using, extending and maximizing the potential of the internet for research, education and the public good. An open “neutral” internet is absolutely crucial to fulfill our missions and serve our communities.

“Further, we are heartened that both the President and recent statements from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler reflect an understanding that network neutrality must apply to both fixed and mobile broadband. We look forward to continuing to work with the FCC to secure strong, legally enforceable rules that ensure the internet remains an open platform for information exchange, intellectual discourse, creativity, innovation and learning for all,” Feldman concluded.

More To Come

Press Coverage

All Your Questions About Obama’s Internet Plan Answered (via Time.com)

Internet Should Be Open, No Fast or Slow Lanes, Obama Says (via Bloomberg)

Obama Urges F.C.C. to Adopt Strict Rules on Net Neutrality (via NY Times)

That last principle [no paid prioritization] would directly affect some of the megadeals already being made by companies like Netflix, whose video streaming service has been gobbling up bandwidth and slowing down the Internet as millions of people attempt to watch movies and television shows through their computers and tablets.

Earlier this year, Netflix struck a deal with Comcast under which it pays Comcast for a direct connection into its broadband network so subscribers experience less delay in viewing Netflix’s streaming video.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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