President Obama Comes Out for Net Neutrality; Says the Openness of the Internet is ‘Essential to the American Way of Life’

President Obama (Photo: Saul Loeb, AFP/Getty Images)
President Obama (Photo: Saul Loeb, AFP/Getty Images)

President Obama came out strongly Monday for the concept of net neutrality, saying that “an open Internet is essential to the American economy, and increasingly to our very way of life.”

In a written statement, Obama asked the Federal Communications Commission to “create a new set of rules protecting net neutrality,” and to ensure that phone and cable companies will not be able “to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online.”

While Internet users and companies praised Obama’s comments, major corporations called it an overreaction that would lead to lawsuits and worse service.

The FCC may make a decision by the end of the year.

In the statement — issued while Obama is in China for meetings — the president noted that “the FCC is an independent agency, and ultimately this decision is theirs alone.”

Obama urged an “explicit ban” on “paid prioritization,” agreements in which large content providers pay Internet companies for faster delivery. This involves such profitable, high-traffic sites such as Netflix, Amazon and YouTube.

He also called for banning the blocking of certain websites and the “throttling” of Internet service.

The president, who recorded his statement on video, also called on the FCC to classify broadband Internet as a telecommunications service. Major broadband providers have objected, saying it would make their business subject to onerous regulations.

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SOURCE: David Jackson
USA TODAY