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article imagePresident Obama endorses net neutrality, asks FCC for new rules

By Nate Smith     Nov 11, 2014 in Politics
President Barack Obama struck a populist chord on Monday in his plea to the Federal Communications Commission to enact a strict set of rules designed to prevent corporations from prioritizing websites on the Internet.
In a nearly two-minute video, the president implored the FCC to adopt "net neutrality" standards to, "keep the Internet free and open.
"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," the president said.
Net neutrality refers to the concept that Internet Service Providers should not be permitted to prioritize content and official Web sites from businesses that pay a fee for such a privilege.
The practice amounts to instituting, "toll lanes on the information superhighway," President Obama said.
The president's appeal to the FCC includes four fundamental points, including no "blocking" or "throttling" of Internet content that may not be commercially affiliated with a given ISP, as well as no paid prioritization from third parties to have their content more readily accessible.
Additionally, President Obama calls on the FCC to insist on greater transparency between ISPs and Internet content providers.
Thus far, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler -- a former top Obama fundraiser -- and that organization has been reticent to adopt new "Open Internet Rules"
Net neutrality advocates include large Internet companies like Google, and President Obama said in the video the White House has received some four million public comments from citizens in favor of net neutrality.
Lobbying for ISPs, the Telecommunications Industry Association came out against the president's plan to reclassify the Internet as a utility.
"Such a move would set the industry back decades, and threaten the private sector investment that is critically needed to ensure that the network can meet surging demand," CEO Scott Belcher said in a statement.
His statement goes on:
As manufacturers and suppliers who build the Internet backbone and supply the devices and services that ride over it, our companies strongly urge regulators to refrain from reclassification that will guarantee harm to consumers, the economy, and the very technologies we are trying to protect.
In January, judges on a federal appeals court eliminated rules that had previously prevented ISPs from blocking and discriminating against online content, which paves the way for the kind of paid prioritization now at stake.
"I believe that the Internet must remain an open platform for free expression, innovation, and economic growth," reads a statement from FCC Chairman, Mr. Wheeler. We both oppose Internet fast lanes. The Internet must not advantage some to the detriment of others. We cannot allow broadband networks to cut special deals to prioritize Internet traffic and harm consumers, competition, and innovation.
The FCC has for months solicited public comment on the issue, and the president's opinion comes about a week ahead of the independent agency's stated deadline for proposal of new rules.
More about Net neutrality, President barack obama, Open Internet, Fcc, White house
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