President Obama gets it. The greedy, rich moguls in Hollywood and on Wall Street are trying to steal the Internet and turn it into their own private high-profit playground, and they’ve got to be stopped.
The Internet is a public resource, not a private tool to be controlled by a few mega-rich corporations seeking to cement their grip on public discourse and lock in a huge source of profits for perpetuity.
Despite its lack of progressiveness on many important issues, the White House has at least recognized the critical importance of Net Neutrality. In a statement released on Monday, November 10th, President Obama notes, “An open Internet is essential to the American economy, and increasingly to our very way of life.”
FCC considering new Net Neutrality rules
Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is finalizing new rules for how to safeguard competition and user choice on the Internet, so we must make sure they do not weaken the principle of net neutrality. As the introduction to the White House report notes: “Ensuring a free and open Internet is the only way we can preserve the Internet’s power to connect our world.”
Obama’s suggestions for Net Neutrality rules
In his statement, President Obama outlines four common sense rules for Net Neutrality that he strongly encourages the FCC to respect:
- “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.”
In concluding, the president’s statement notes that implementing these basic rules will not create an undue burden on ISPs or others. Moreover, the rules should have clear, monitored exceptions for network management or for mission-critical services such as a hospital or local government emergency services. Most importantly, implementing these four basic rules will preserve unfettered access to the Internet for all Americans.